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A man has been given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years after being found guilty of numerous offences relating to sexual communication with children.
Appearing at Poole Magistrates Court on Friday 30 July, Joshua Lee Towns, aged 21, of Slinn Road, Somerford, Christchurch in Dorset, was sentenced for engaging in sexual communication with three children between October 2018 and May 2019 in the New Forest area.
As well as a suspended sentence, Towns will also be subjected to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for five years and ordered to pay £140 victim surcharge and £85 costs.
The court heard in an 8-month period how Joshua Towns exchanged messages, often of a highly sexual nature, with a child who he did not reasonably believe to be over the age of 16.
A subsequent investigation uncovered numerous sexualised conversations with two further children believed to be under 16.
Following the sentencing, Police Constable Jonathan Kennett, said: “In a day and age where social media is so prevalent in young people’s lives, and the ease in which messages can be sent by people unknown to them, it is incredibly important that we, as the police, are in a position to investigate such offences.
“An extensive two-year investigation has now concluded, and I would like to thank all those involved in the case, whose hard work and dedication, has resulted in a person being brought to justice for the offences they have committed.
“We want to continue to protect any vulnerable people, including young children, against possible sexual exploitation and I hope that this convictions shows the lengths that we will go to investigate any such claims.
“I also hope this sentence will alert others, as well as the parents of young children, to the dangers of the digital world and also encourage any victim of child sexual abuse to come forward and speak to us, no matter when it happened.
“We take allegations of this nature extremely seriously and will always seek to bring those responsible for committing these offences to justice.
“We would encourage anyone who has been a victim of child sexual abuse to contact police on 101 where you can speak with our specialist detectives in confidence.”