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The Online Abuse and Exploitation Team have brought a Swaledale man to justice.
Peter John Reynolds (pictured), aged 48, from Downholme, Richmondshire, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment at Teesside Crown Court today - Monday 20 December 2021- after pleading guilty to all four offences last month.
These included two counts of an adult attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, who he believed to be two young girls who he had met online.
One of these offences took place between 24 August and 18 October, and the other between 1 and 19 October 2021.
In each case, Reynolds sent a series of sexual images and engaged in sexualised chat.
What he had not realised was that he was communicating with the police throughout this time.
When the “girls” confirmed their ages as 12 and 13 to him during these chats, Reynolds continued with the sexualised conversation despite believing they were children.
An operation was carried out during the early hours of 20 October to arrest him. A search warrant was also executed at his home address where various devices and other potential evidence were seized as part of the investigation.
Reynolds was already on the Sex Offenders Register due to a previous conviction for inciting a girl aged between 13 and 15 to engage in sexual activity in November 2015.
He received a suspended sentence and was made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).
This meant Reynolds was also charged with a breach of the SHPO for using a mobile phone that he was prohibited to use, as well as attempting to breach the SHPO in relation to communication with females aged under 16.
Detective Constable Tom Sutcliffe, of the Online Abuse and Exploitation Team, led the investigation which secured the recent conviction. He said: