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A 62-year-old man has been jailed after arranging to meet what he thought was a child to rape when instead officers were waiting to arrest him.
William Trevor Smith, of Denton Road in Audenshaw, Manchester drove the long distance to Gloucester to meet and rape what he thought was a 10-year-old child.
Smith had in fact been communicating with officers from the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SWROCU) who work to identify and investigate dangerous offenders targeting children online.
He was subsequently charged with arranging the commission of a child sex offence and the breach of a sexual harm prevention order.
The case was as a result of a collaboration between the SWROCU and Gloucestershire Constabulary's Public Protection Unit, which has led to a dangerous man being imprisoned.
Smith pleaded guilty to the offences and was jailed at Gloucester Crown Court last Friday (9 December) for seven years and four months. He was also deemed dangerous and was given an extended licence which takes the total to 11 years.
He was also sentenced to 29 months in prison for the breach of a sexual harm prevention order, to run concurrently.
Detective Constable Lisa Hawthorne from the Constabulary's Public Protection Unit said: "We are pleased with the sentence handed to Smith at Gloucester Crown Court.
"He was one of the worst offenders we have seen – he communicated for several weeks before travelling to Gloucestershire intent on raping and abusing what he believed to be a young child.
"We are proud of the teams involved in protecting and safeguarding children. As well as the work we achieve in pursuing and prosecuting offenders who offend against the most vulnerable in our society."
Detective Inspector David Wells from SWROCU said: “Smith is clearly a very dangerous individual who poses a significant risk to children. His sentence reflects the seriousness of his offending and the intended harm he sought to cause a young child.
“We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners, such as Gloucestershire’s Public Protection Unit, to see that these perpetrators are brought to justice."
The NSPCC website has clear and extensive advice for parents and carers, children and young people, and professionals.
If you are worried about something that has happened to your child online, report it to CEOP.
If you have concerns about your own use of the internet or inappropriate thoughts or behaviour about children, or you are worried about how someone you know behaves, then contact the Lucy Faithfull Foundation.