PARENTS have been warned about the dangers of children finding friends on internet forums after a man was jailed for inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity.
Francis McGuigan, 68, of Back Lane, Chorley, was sent to prison for three years and two months at Preston Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to a number of sexual offences at a hearing in May.
He also admitted possessing indecent photographs of a child and making indecent photographs of a child.
McGuigan was caught exchanging messages in an internet chatroom with who he believed to be a 12-year-old girl.
He encouraged the girl to carry out a sexual act on herself and sent her obscene messages.
He was also found to be in possession of numerous indecent images of children.
Det Sgt Janette Bashall from Chorley CID said: “I am pleased with the custodial sentence that has been given to McGuigan.
“We are pleased to have caught him as we cannot say how this situation would have escalated if he was able to carry on speaking to children over the internet.
“I hope that this serves as a warning to those who try to groom children and teenagers online that there is a chance we are watching you and, if you do commit an offence, you will be caught and put before the courts.”
Det Supt Neil Esseen from Lancashire Constabulary’s Public Protection Unit, said: “We are committed to targeting those who pose a threat to our children and, as a result, we deploy a comprehensive range of tactics to identify and arrest such people.
“People should be left in no doubt that, if they try to groom children in this way, we will find them and bring them to justice.”
Det Sgt Bashall added: “We would advise parents to monitor the internet usage of their children and reiterate the dangers of making new friends in chat rooms on the internet or engaging in conversations with people they do not know.”