October 2017

Former mayor jailed after trying to meet boy for sex

A former mayor of Peterlee who tried to meet a boy for sex has been jailed for 12 months.

Lee Cook was caught in a sting operation by anti-child abuse campaign group Guardians of the North.

Cook sent intimate pictures of himself to what he thought was a 15-year-old boy, Durham Crown Court heard on Friday.

He sent a series of messages making it clear he wanted to meet the boy for sex, said prosecutor Robin Turton.

Cook, 26, of Quantock Place, Peterlee, admitted attempting to meet a boy under 16 years following grooming.

Penny Bottomley, defending, said Cook had done good work in the community, and he had been targeted by neighbours causing him to move house.

The Recorder, Mr Peter Makepeace, jailed Cook for 12 months. Cook was made the subject of a five-year order banning from having unsupervised contact with children.

August 2017

County Durham mayor admits grooming child

The mayor of a County Durham town is to plead guilty to attempting to try to meet a boy under 16 for sex after he was caught by online child protection team Guardians of the North

Appearing at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court, Peterlee mayor Lee Cook indicated a guilty plea to trying to meet a boy following grooming.

The 29-year-old became the town’s youngest elected mayor earlier this year.

Cook, of Quantock Place, Peterlee, was bailed and will be sentenced at Durham Crown Court on 25 August.

He was ordered to sign the sex offenders register and not to have any unsupervised contact with under-16s.

The North East Party, which Cook was a member of, said in a statement that he had been suspended.

Peterlee Town Council said Cook resigned from the council earlier.

Cook became the town’s youngest ever mayor in May, but has now been suspended from the North East Party.

Speaking in May, he promised to serve young and old. 

‘I am proud to have been selected as the youngest mayor in Peterlee town council history and over the next year I will represent all of the people, both young and old, not just the few and I will be hands on with community events and activities and fundraising activities for my own charities.’