November 2017

Sports Direct manager, 33, caught in Lidl car park

A paedophile Sports Direct manager, who was caught in a Lidl car park by vigilantes trying to meet a 13-year-old girl he’d been grooming online, has been jailed for more than two years.

Daniel Pickering, 33, from Manchester, was trapped after he engaged in sexually explicit conversations with someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl.

He was actually talking to an investigator from the action group, Keeping Kids Safe, who detained him under a ‘citizen’s arrest’ at a Lidl car park after he agreed to meet the girl ‘Amber Ryder’.

Police were called and he was pinned to the ground by officers, handcuffed and put in the back of their van. 

Pickering admitted he had been chatting to the teenager and said he had been going through a drug-fuelled ‘rocky patch’ with his girlfriend while working 14 hour days as a manager with the sports equipment retail chain. 

Police also found two bags of cocaine and one bag of cannabis at Pickering’s home in the city’s Openshaw district.

At Manchester Crown Court, he was jailed for 27 months after he admitted attempting to meet a child under 16 after grooming, attempted to make a child watch an obscene video and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply and possession of cannabis. He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register for 10 years.

Earlier in court Claire Brocklebank prosecuting said: ‘The defendant’s behaviour came to light having been caught by members of the group Keeping Kids Safe. 

‘The purpose of that group is to set up profiles of a child to identify potential offenders and in this case they had set up a profile in the name of Amber, stating that she was 13 and with images of a child appearing to be 13 on the profile.

‘The defendant started a lengthy conversation with Amber which lasted just over a month. He asked Amber if she was single and suggested she find someone more experienced than her, and spoke about meeting up and going to his house. Also during the conversations he said he could give her alcohol and cocai

‘The conversation started with introductions. She said ‘Hi I’m Amber I’m 13 from Liverpool. He said ‘Hi I’m Danny I’m 33 from Manchester’.

‘There were numerous times the spoke about meeting up and numerous times in the conversation things of a sexual nature were brought up. Throughout the conversation he asked her questions of a sexual nature and he also sent her a video of himself performing a sexual act.

‘The conversation turned to meeting up in Manchester Town Centre and that they would meet up and go to his home where alcohol and drugs would be provided. When he arrived he was met by six members of the group who performed a citizens arrest and contacted the police.’

When quizzed by police, Pickering said: ‘I wanted her to change her mind about meeting up but I was afraid she would call the police if I didn’t meet her. I ignored her messages for a while but she messages me about meeting up.’