May 2013

Man who arranged to meet boy in Darwen admits inciting a child into prostitution

A MAN who incited a schoolboy into prostitution by offering him money for sexual favours while replying to an online advert has been jailed for 12 months.

Andrew Bullen responded to a job advert posted by a 15-year-old boy who was looking for work via online market place Gumtree, Preston Crown Court heard.

The 45-year-old replied to the youngster’s appeal, which said he was looking for a job in the local area, prosecutors said.

Bullen contacted the teenager and offered him £50 for sexual favours before the pair exchanged numbers.

The court heard Bullen then called the boy on his mobile phone and arranged to meet him at the Ocean Palace restaurant in Bolton Road, Darwen, on March 8, this year.

During the call, he was made aware of the boy’s actual age, which had originally appeared on the site as 16, police said.

The victim told his uncle about the conversation with Bullen and, instead of attending the restaurant, the uncle went along and recorded Bullen’s registration plate details.

Appearing in the dock wearing blue jeans, a blue shirt and a quilted jacket, Bullon admitted the single charge of inciting a child into prostitution.

After hearing the evidence, Judge Heather Lloyd jailed Bullen, of Manchester Road, Bolton, for 12 months.

She also made him the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention order for 10 years, which bans him from working with children and forces him to sign the sex offenders’ register for a decade.

DS Simon Upton, of Eastern division public protection, said: “This male clearly targeted a young man who he knew he was only 15-years-old having targeted him on a well known community website.

“As a result of his actions and following the subsequent police investigation, Bullon has had his liberty taken away from him and put on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

“The police take all incidents of any sexual exploitation extremely seriously.

“I would encourage anyone with information about sexual abuse or who has been a victim of sexual abuse to come forward and report their concerns to police on 101.”