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Man convicted of 14 offences of inciting sexual activity with children

Following an investigation by West Mercia Police, a man from Harrogate has been sentenced to 6 years and 4 months in prison after pleading guilty to child sexual offences committed online whilst living in Worcestershire.

Matthew Sargeant, aged 23, Harrogate, was convicted at York Crown Court on Friday (5 October) of:

  • Eight counts of inciting a boy under 16 to engage in sexual activity - penetration.
  • Two count of attempting to cause a boy under 16 to engage in sexual activity - penetration.
  • One count of inciting a boy under 13 to engage in sexual activity - no penetration.
  • One count of attempting to incite a boy under 13 to engage in sexual activity - no penetration.
  • Two counts of making indecent / possession of photograph of a child.

He has also been registered as a sex offender and given a 10 year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Sargeant was initially arrested in June 2016 whilst living at an address in Worcester. Following his arrest, several media devices were seized and sent for examination, where evidence relating to the offences was found.

Following the sentencing, Detective Inspector Gavin Kinrade from West Mercia Police said: "This was a challenging investigation due to the volume of data and the spread of victims potentially from across the world.

"Sargeant utilised false online profiles to target children in sexual activity online.

"I hope that this result gives a clear warning to other offenders that we are absolutely committed to protecting children from sexual abuse, and bringing those responsible to justice."

DI Kinrade continued: "With many children now owning smart phones and tablets with access to the internet, prevention is key - one of the most important things parents can do to protect their children is to have a conversation with them about the risks."

If you believe a child is in immediate danger call 999.

Those who believe they are at risk of committing grooming or other sexual offences can visit 'stop it now' or visit the confidential helpline on 0808 1000 900.


Issued: 1pm, Thursday 11 October, MC, Corporate Communications

Published 11/10/18