December 16, 2022 9.30 am This story is over 16 months old

Lincolnshire Snapchat sex predator jailed

The teenage victim was found in his car

A predator from Lincolnshire who sexually exploited a teenage girl after his car was intercepted by motor patrol officers has been jailed for six years.

Northumbria Police said Daniel Potterton, 20, randomly added the victim as a friend on Snapchat and began messaging her back in June.

Despite knowing she was 14, Potterton, of Kirton, Boston, began regularly driving from his Lincolnshire home up to South Tyneside to meet the girl and engage in sexual activity.

After the girl’s concerned parents became aware and alerted police, an investigation was launched with officers from Northumbria Police’s Operation Dragon team monitoring the movements of Potterton’s vehicle.

Shortly after 9pm on August 2, after believing the suspect had re-entered Northumbria’s Force area, police intercepted his vehicle – and found the teenage victim sat in the passenger seat.

Potterton was subsequently arrested and a review of his phone led to officers finding a number of internet searches relating to sexual activity with minors.

On October, he pleaded guilty to a string of offences including sexual activity with a child, meeting a child following sexual grooming and abducting a child. The offences were as follows – two counts of sexual activity with a child, engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, abducting a child and meeting a child following sexual grooming.

He appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday, December 15 where he was jailed for six years.

Detective Sergeant Jodie Faulkner, of Northumbria Police, said: “This is a very upsetting case that saw Potterton target his under-age victim on social media before sexually exploiting her over a number of weeks.

“His behaviour has had a shattering impact on both his victim and her family. I sincerely hope his conviction in court offers them some comfort.

“As soon as we were made aware of this case, we were determined to get hold of Potterton – who we learnt had been travelling long distances from Lincolnshire over a number of weeks to sexually exploit his victim.

“I would like to thank the victim and her family for their strength and cooperation throughout this case, as well as our Operation Dragoon officers who swiftly acted on our intelligence and were able to intercept Potterton’s vehicle as soon as it re-entered our Force area.

“From there, a team of detectives carried out an outstanding investigation in order to secure Potterton’s conviction and ensure he had his day in court. Their dedication and commitment was absolutely crucial in achieving this positive outcome.

“As a Force, we are committed to continue protecting the most vulnerable in our communities and bringing effective justice against perpetrators.”

Following Potterton’s conviction, Eve McDonnell, a Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS North East, added: “Daniel Potterton preyed on his young victim over social media, grooming her into believing they were in a relationship before travelling to the North East to abduct her for sexual intercourse.

“The Crown Prosecution Service has worked closely with Northumbria Police to bring a robust case against him, leaving him little alternative but to plead guilty to these very serious charges.”

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