West Sussex man, 44, jailed after attempting to engage in sexual communications with 12-year-old girl
A West Sussex man who communicated online for sexual purposes, with someone he thought was a teenage girl, has been jailed for nearly four years.
Sussex Police has revealed that Jamie Bennett, an unemployed Barnham resident, pleaded guilty to offences involving attempting to engage in sexual communications with a 12-year old-girl. He also encouraged the girl to perform a sexual act on herself, police said.
The 44-year-old was sentenced to three years and nine months imprisonment at Lewes Crown Court on Friday, August 20.
Bennett will be a registered sexual offender indefinitely and was given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to last until further court notice, 'severely restricting his access to digital communications devices and young people'.
The prosecution, authorised by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), followed an intelligence-led investigation by the Sussex Police Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT), working closely with the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU).
Police said communication devices were seized by Sussex POLIT officers from Bennett's address in December 2019 and revealed evidence of systematic contact between the two, initiated by Bennett on an online messaging platform.
Sussex POLIT Investigator Kayleigh Bartup said: "This prosecution followed an intelligence-led investigation, part of continuing police work to protect children from sexual exploitation.
“If you have been a victim of child sexual abuse, or have information about anyone else who has, please contact us either online or by calling 101.
"We will always follow up allegations of abuse, no matter when they occurred. Victims can talk in confidence to experienced Investigators and we can also help them get access to a range of other support services.”