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A man has been jailed after inciting a 14-year-old girl to have sex with him.

Joseph Flanagan born 24/10/91 of Ashton under Lyne (but no fixed address) pleaded guilty to two counts of inciting a child to engage in penetrative sexual activity at an earlier hearing.

Today, Monday 13 January 2014 he was sentenced to two years at Minshull Street Crown Court.

He will be subject to a sexual offences prevention order for 10 years and will have to sign the sex offenders register also for 10 years.

On Wednesday 31 July 2013, Flanagan contacted the teenager on Facebook having previously met her at Ashton Markets.

For a number of days, Flanagan sent the girl messages, initially of a friendly manner. He then started to send graphic messages and images of himself before he asked her to meet him in the town centre.

The victim then broke contact with him before she confided in a family member as to what happened.

Police were called and the following investigation recovered the messages from Facebook. Flanagan was then arrested.

Detective Sergeant Dan Appleby from the Project Phoenix team, aimed at tackling child sexual exploitation in Tameside, said: “Flanagan groomed his victim and gave the impression he genuinely wanted to be friends. Little did she know that he would then begin to send graphic and sexual messages to her.

“Following the messages, she repeatedly told him that that what he was doing was against the law due to her age but he told her it could be their secret and no one would need to know. Flanagan doggedly pursued his sexual goal until the victim broke contact and told a family member.

“Thanks to the bravery of the victim and alertness of family members this offender was stopped in his tracks. Although the young person felt unable to provide evidence herself, the positive actions shown by her family members and the dedication of the officers involved enabled the police and the CPS to bring Flanagan to justice for what he has done.

“This serves as a message to those who are currently involved in this type of despicable crime that officers from the Phoenix Team in Tameside will find you.

“Victims of these crimes can be reassured that we will take all reports seriously and we will thoroughly investigate all cases with a view to putting offenders before the courts.”

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