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‘Devious, persistent and prolific sex offender’ jailed for 10 years

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A NATIONWIDE investigation into 120 potential victims of online grooming led by Dyfed-Powys Police has resulted in a 43-year-old man being jailed for 10 years.

Neil Antony Derrick Payne, of Bronwydd in Carmarthen, was described in court as a ‘devious, persistent and prolific sex offender’.

The court heard how he posed as a teenage boy on social media, and then tried to get his victims to meet his fictitious uncle in order to abuse them.

In some instances, he said his ‘uncle’ would be mad if the victims didn’t meet him.

Helen Randall, prosecuting, told the court that a 13-year-old girl was contacted by Payne, who was posting to be a 14-year-old boy, and send her lewd pictures.

She was then offered £200 to visit his ‘uncle’ for a sex act.

The girl went to the meet – with a friend – but faked a phone call from her father, saying he was a policeman, and took the £200 before running off.

Payne then threatened her and said he would report her to the police.

The court heard similar stories involving other girls aged 13 to 15, and analysis of his PC showed he spoke to ‘hundreds’ of young people.

He pleaded guilty to meeting a child after grooming with intention of sexual activity, causing or inciting children to engage in sexual activity, and possession of indecent images.

He was handed a 15 year sentence: a 10 year determinate sentence with a five year extension for causing or inciting a child to engage in a sexual activity.

He was also sentenced for 12 months, eight years and four years for the other charges, which will run concurrently.

Payne will also be subject to a serious harm prevention order for life, as well as sign on the sex offenders register for life.

HOW THE POLICE CAUGHT HIM

The force conducted an intense digital investigation into social media profiles set up by Payne, who acted as a teenage boy online with the sole aim of inciting young girls into sexual activity.

Payne was arrested after a teenage girl reported making contact with a man who had been purporting to be a 17-year-old boy on Facebook. Computers were seized from his home and were examined by the Digital Communications and Cyber Crime Unit (DCCU).

A forensic examination of devices seized from Payne revealed that he had set up 11 different profiles over Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, Oovoo, Snapchat and Kik. His pseudo profiles featured photographs of young males aged 15-17 years.

Payne would trawl the internet for contacts and target friends of friends. Using these fake accounts, he had been sending friend requests to girls across the UK for around 18 months. On Facebook alone, 172 people accepted his friend request.

Images, videos and text conversations were extracted, as well as information from social media profiles which were used to identify how many of the girls behind the 500 usernames were potential victims.

A DCCU analyst formatted 15,000 lines of text over each social media network into individual conversations between Payne and the girls he befriended. She quickly established a pattern, with his most frequent conversation opener used 119 times. He would say they had friends in common, or that he had recently moved to the area and wanted to meet people.

Detective Sergeant Mathew Davies, of the Police Online Investigation Team, said: “His intent was to send a mass message out to young girls using these regular lines. He was in contact with hundreds of people over his various accounts – starting off requesting random people as friends, and then working through their friend list to add others.

“Our analyst pulled out conversations with each girl, so even if he moved people to different platforms to chat we could still track what had been said between them. He had a pattern of conversation, and would try to move the girls onto Snapchat or Skype, saying his uncle was lonely and needed friends. He was then pretending to be this boy’s uncle on these accounts.”

An enormous task was undertaken by officers and members of the DCCU to identify from images, videos, text conversations and social media the potential victims of grooming and incitement. Evidence was collated by DS Sian Davies, who oversaw the entire investigation, and over 90 intelligence and safeguarding packages were put together. These were delivered across the UK with the assistance of other police forces.

Detective Inspector Jayne Butler, of Carmarthen CID, said: “In many cases we only had online usernames to go by in trying to find and contact the people we needed to speak to. There were a number of enquiries to try and identify where they lived, with forces across the country helping to make contact with them.”

As the investigation progressed, a report of incitement was made to Dyfed-Powys Police in October 2017, which was linked to Payne. Within two days, he was arrested. He was charged with a total of eight offences – meeting a girl aged under 16 following grooming, five counts of causing or inciting a girl aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity, and two counts of possessing indecent photographs or pseudo photographs of a child.

In December 2017 Payne pleaded guilty to all eight offences at Swansea Crown Court. On Wednesday, January 31, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with a further five years on license.

DI Butler said: “We are pleased with the sentence handed to Payne for these predatory offences. He took on the guise of a teenage boy to specifically target young girls online, gaining their trust before attempting to groom them.

“A complex investigation which spanned numerous other forces has resulted in putting him behind bars, which I hope is some consolation to his victims. This sentence just goes to show that people cannot hide behind pseudonyms to commit what they believe are faceless crimes via social media.

“What is worrying is how willing some young people are to engage with strangers on the internet. I would really like to urge parents of teenagers – male or female – to be aware of who their children are talking to.

“It might be difficult, but please try to find a way to talk to them about the dangers that can be posed on social media.  Please urge them to stop and think if they receive a friend request from someone they don’t know – it might not be the person they say they are.

“We know from just this one investigation that teenagers are willing to accept friend requests from people they don’t know and have never met, which has the potential to put them at risk of harm.”

Dyfed-Powys Police would encourage any victims of sexual offences to have the confidence to come forward and report the offence. All reports are dealt with seriously and sensitively. Reports can be made by calling 101.

For more information on helping to keep your children safe online, visit www.ceop.police.uk or www.parentzone.org.uk

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Brechfa rave: Locals urged not to ‘take matters into their own hands’

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POLICE currently monitoring a large gathering in the Brechfa area have urged local residents to let them deal with the matter.

When Dyfed-Powys Police became aware of the illegal rave in the early hours of Sunday morning, the event was already well under way.

Due to the number of people involved, and the safety concerns of breaking up an event of this size in a remote location, the decision was taken to prioritise disrupting and stopping any further people entering.

A spokesperson for Dyfed Powys Police said: “A police presence is being maintained today and the gathering is being closely monitored continuously, in order to minimise disruption to the local community. Officers are liaising with concerned residents in the area. The National Police Air Service also assisted this morning to gather further intelligence and evidence.

“This type of event causes considerable anxiety and distress to the community. There is little doubt that these types of events are very well planned, organised and that local knowledge is important in drawing down the main group to a particular ‘vulnerable’ field, or area of land.

“We assure local communities that appropriate action is being taken to disrupt and deal with this event, and we will robustly investigate any criminal offences discovered.

“We understand the strength of feelings in respect of this, but we urge locals not to take matters into their own hands, and let the police deal with it. We do not want potential attendees to the gathering to be under any illusions either – do not travel to the area as officers are there and you will be turned away.”

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News

Brechfa rave: Locals urged not to ‘take matters into their own hands’

Published

on

POLICE currently monitoring a large gathering in the Brechfa area have urged local residents to let them deal with the matter.

When Dyfed-Powys Police became aware of the illegal rave in the early hours of Sunday morning, the event was already well under way.

Due to the number of people involved, and the safety concerns of breaking up an event of this size in a remote location, the decision was taken to prioritise disrupting and stopping any further people entering.

A spokesperson for Dyfed Powys Police said: “A police presence is being maintained today and the gathering is being closely monitored continuously, in order to minimise disruption to the local community. Officers are liaising with concerned residents in the area. The National Police Air Service also assisted this morning to gather further intelligence and evidence.

“This type of event causes considerable anxiety and distress to the community. There is little doubt that these types of events are very well planned, organised and that local knowledge is important in drawing down the main group to a particular ‘vulnerable’ field, or area of land.

“We assure local communities that appropriate action is being taken to disrupt and deal with this event, and we will robustly investigate any criminal offences discovered.

“We understand the strength of feelings in respect of this, but we urge locals not to take matters into their own hands, and let the police deal with it. We do not want potential attendees to the gathering to be under any illusions either – do not travel to the area as officers are there and you will be turned away.”

(Picture – stock photo)

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Police trying to track stolen tanker

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the theft of a fuel tanker containing approximately 8,500 litres of diesel (4,000 litres of red diesel and 4,500 litres of white diesel).

The vehicle was taken from Tan Y Foel Quarry, Cefn Coch, Welshpool, between 5.30pm on Wednesday, May 23 and 6am on Thursday, May 24.

The police are asking people to see if the tanker is now in this area.

Anyone with information that can help officers with their investigation is asked to report it by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908, quoting Ref: DPP/0006/24/05/2018/01/C.

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