May 2021

Chorley paedophile caught deleting Snapchat from phone in breach of order

A convicted paedophile from Chorley has been given a suspended jail sentence after he was seen deleting Snapchat from his phone.

Keith Crook appeared at Preston Crown Court on Friday (April 30) to be sentenced for breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) and a suspended sentence handed to him in May 2019.

The 48-year-old had originally appeared for sentence in November 2020 but Judge Andrew Jefferies QC deferred sentence to give Crook the opportunity to engage with the Probation Service.

At court, prosecutor Cecilia Pritchard told the judge: “The order had been imposed, along with a suspended sentence order, in relation to sexual communications with a child and he has breached that order since then in addition to the orders you are asked to sentence today.

“The order prohibits him from having any devices capable of accessing the internet unless he made it available at the request of the police and also that it would display any internet history.

“On July 31 in 2019 he had a joint meeting with probation and police and he was asked to disclose any internet-enabled devices.

“He said he had had an Alcatel smartphone but had thrown it away and the only device he had was a basic Alcatel handset which wasn’t internet-enabled.

“He was advised it would be a breach if he possessed a phone before it had been examined.”

The court heard that on August 9 in 2019 Crook was visited by police and told them he had sold the smartphone to a second-hand shop three weeks previously. However, when officers visited the shop they were told he had only sold it five days before their visit.

“He was visited at home on December 12 and he was caught deleting Snapchat which had been installed on the phone he had,” Miss Pritchard said.

“He confirmed he had been given a warning three months earlier that he would not be allowed to use Snapchat because it doesn’t retain its history.”

The court was told that Crook was given the suspended sentence in May 2019 after he was caught communicating with a 12-year-old girl on Facebook.

The child was actually a decoy and Crook had been targeted by paedophile hunters.

When Crook turned up to meet the girl the paedophile hunters, working under the group name Stop, live-streamed the incident and called police.

Crook was given a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years.

He must also complete 10 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and pay a £100 fine for breaching his suspended sentence.