Police pose as 12-year-old girl to catch Melton sex offender
A registered sex offender has been jailed after undercover police officers caught him out while they were posing as a 12-year-old girl online.
Lewis Watts (26), of Saxelby Road, Melton, thought he messaging a real child on the social media platform Kik on November 4 last year.
Watts was encouraging sexual activity and asking the ‘girl’ to send images of sexual acts but his posts were received by officers from the West Midlands Police force.
A number of conversations also took place between Watts and other similar accounts – but they too were also all being operated by officers.
Leicestershire Police Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) was notified and they were subsequently able to track his account before swooping on a property in Asfordby to confront him on December 22.
Later that day, Watts attended Keyham Lane Police Station where he was arrested and was subsequently charged with three counts of sexual communications with a child, attempting to incite a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity and a breach of his sexual harm prevention order. He was remanded into custody.
Watts was due to stand trial at Leicester Crown Court but changed his plea to guilty shortly before the trial was due to start and yesterday (Monday) he was sentenced to three years in prison.
Det Con Glen Reid, from the POLIT team said: “This man is a serial offender and thanks to the detailed and dedicated work of officers from the Paedophile Online Investigation Team and West Midlands Police, we were able to identify Watt’s account and provide full proof of what his intentions were when he made contact with the decoy accounts.
“When officers carry out this work operating decoy accounts, this has to be done extremely sensitively and can have a huge impact on those officers who operate the accounts.
“But they are all highly trained in this area of work and ultimately do it to bring people such as Watts to justice and to help prevent harm being caused to vulnerable young children.
“We urge everyone to be vigilant when online and report any suspicious behaviour.
“We will take action on all reports we receive.”