A man from Southport has been jailed for four years, nine months for sexual offences after he was found with a 12-year-old girl.
At around 11.50pm on 11 February, we were called to the report of a man with a young girl in McDonalds on Blundell Street. Officers traced the man to a location near to the Strand, where he was detained. The girl was found safe and taken for appropriate safeguarding measures.
Darren Jones-Bond, 33, of Eastbank Street in Southport was later charged with two counts of sexual activity with a girl under 13.
He was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday 10 June), where he was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and ordered to sign on the Sex Offenders Register.
Detective Inspector Gavin Mulcahy from the force’s Protecting Vulnerable People Unit, said: “It is thanks largely to the vigilance of a member of the public that this offender has been brought to justice and could not cause any further harm to the victim, or any others any time soon. A member of the public spotted behaviour they were uncomfortable with and called police – our officers responded promptly and found the offender with the vulnerable victim.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank that member of the public, as well as our Child Criminal Exploitation Team who progressed this investigation – supporting a particularly vulnerable child every step of the way – and the Crown Prosecution Service for supporting a prosecution.”
Det Insp Mulcahy added: “I would encourage anyone who suspects they have witnessed exploitation of any kind in Merseyside to contact police.
“We have a specialist team committed to dealing with all forms of child exploitation, who will take any information from the public extremely seriously and will follow up every report and any information that comes in.
“If you have any suspicions about young people who could be at risk, please call police straight away. We can make an assessment and take the necessary action.
“Call 999 if you suspect such an incident is in progress, or pass any other information via 101, @MerPolCC on social media, or anonymously via 0800 555 111.”
You can also visit https://www.listentomystory.co.uk/ which is a campaign to raise awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation, where parents, teachers, carers and young people can learn about potential warning signs.