Ellesmere Port man sentenced after admitting grooming a string of girls online Date published: 17th May 2016 11.25am

Following a Cheshire Police investigation a 20-year-old man from Ellesmere Port has been sentenced to eight years in prison after admitting a number of offences related to online grooming of girls aged between eight and 18.

David Harmes, formerly from Regent Street in Ellesmere Port was sentenced at Chester Crown Court on 16 May 2016. He was given eight years with a minimum of five to serve and an additional three years on licence. He will also be on the Sex Offender Register for life.

He had admitted to 35 offences against 24 victims and also asked for a further four to be taken into consideration against four other victims on 1 April and at earlier hearings.

In total police identified 28 female victims aged between eight and 18 years old from across the UK. All relate to Harmes online activity in which he coerced the victims in to acts. He was charged with a range of offences from causing or inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity to making and distributing indecent photographs of a child. He did not meet up with any of the victims.

DC Simon Ledger said: “Harmes duped young girls into thinking they were talking to people they looked up to and in some cases posed as a modelling agency representative  so that he could manipulate them for his own pleasure.

“It is a timely reminder that while the internet is an amazing tool, it has a darker side which we need to be mindful of and shows just how imperative it is that parents are aware of the sites their children are accessing and who they are communicating with. People like Harmes have no qualms with using the internet to their own perverse means.

“There are a number of websites that provide information and tools to protect children online and I would strongly advise all parents to utilise these when educating their children about how to stay safe."

Websites to help people keep safe online.

www.Cheshire.police.uk

Advice on internet safety and security, including social networking and chatrooms.

www.getsafeonline.org

Advice about firewalls, spyware and antivirus protection and how to protect children online.

www.childnet.com

Adult awareness e-safety

www.kidsmart.org.uk

Internet safety advice

www.getnetwise.org

Filtering tools and video clips of experts talking about online safety issues.

www.thinkuknow.co.uk

You can download resources from this site on e-safety

www.ceop.gov.uk

All you need to know about online safety for your child

www.bbc.co.uk/webwise/course/

All you need to know about online safety for your child