A man is behind bars today for the sexual exploitation of a teenage girl from South Yorkshire.
James Kenneth Stewart, aged 47, of Station Road, Royston, Barnsley, pleaded guilty to causing a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity, engaging in sexual activity with a child under 16, and grooming a child under 16.
He also pleaded guilty to breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
Stewart was jailed for six-and-a-half years and will spend a further three-and-a-half years on licence on his release, where his behaviour will be monitored.
Sheffield Crown Court heard Stewart befriended his teenage victim in October 2013 by sending a text to a mobile number he simply made up.
Coincidentally it belonged to a teenage girl from Barnsley, and the pair began texting each other.
Stewart initially told the youngster he was 19 and texts progressed to phone calls.
The court heard he gradually changed his age, getting older each time, during the course of their exchange.
Over the next nine months the pair met up and sexual activity occurred.
Police were alerted when the girl reported him in July.
The victim’s phone was seized, along with three phones belonging to Stewart, so that messages could be analysed.
Detective Inspector John Fitzgibbons, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “To gain this teenage victim’s trust, Stewart lied and manipulated her over the course of nine months.
“He pretended to be someone he wasn’t, using fake names and ages to establish contact with her for the sole purpose of sexual exploitation.
“He also bought her alcohol and cigarettes as part of his plan to exploit and manipulate her.
“This case highlights the risks of speaking to strangers online or over the phone and I would urge teenagers to be cautious when talking to anyone they don’t know.”