Posted on Friday 30 December 2022
One sex offender in custody, one teenage girl safeguarded, all within 48 hours.
On Wednesday, we were contacted by the worried mother of a 14-year-old who had been sent a graphic, sexual comment by a man on TikTok.
Through her own online research, the girl’s mother suspected the man to be from County Durham and contacted police.
Officers from Durham Constabulary’s Public Protection Unit launched an immediate investigation and identified him as a 64-year-old man from Stanley.
He was quickly arrested, questioned by officers, and charged with breaching a sexual harm prevention order and engaging in sexual communication with a child and remanded into custody.
Keith Stobbart, of Lenin Terrace, Stanley, appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court today where he pleaded guilty to both offences.
Magistrates remanded him back into custody to appear at Durham Crown Court for sentence on January 27.
Acting Detective Inspector Katrina Meisuria, from Durham Constabulary’s Public Protection Unit, said: “We work tirelessly to protect children and help prevent them from coming to harm – this work does not stop for the festive break, as this case has shown.
“The officers involved in this investigation were determined to safeguard and get justice for the victim and worked far beyond their usual shift to do so.
“Thanks to the mother’s diligence and quick-thinking, our officers were able to swiftly locate Stobbart, bring him into custody, and help safeguard her daughter.
“This case also highlights the importance of keeping safe online and being aware of your children’s activities on social media.”
For further advice on keeping safe online, visit www.getsafeonline.org