Youth worker admits grooming

A former Wellingborough youth worker has admitted grooming a 13 year old girl online after being caught by undercover reporters.

Simon Beard, 56, was caught as he arrived to meet the 'schoolgirl' - in fact an adult investigator - at Gunnersbury Tube Station, west London, on April 29.

Appearing for a 20-minute plea hearing at Southwark Crown Court via videolink from Wandsworth Prison, he admitted the offence.

He also admitted attempting to cause or incite the 13-year-old to engage in sexual activity on both April 8 and April 28, as well as attempting to cause the girl to watch a sexual act.

But he denied a further charge of possessing 83 indecent images of children. That charge will be left to lie on file, the court was told.

Beard was caught after investigators monitored the activities of several people on teen chatrooms and posed as a 13 year old girl called Amy.

The reporters then passed a dossier of evidence, including film footage, to the Metropolitan Police.

Beard, of Main Street, Little Harrowden, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, was employed by the National Youth Agency between 2002 and September last year and continued working for the organisation as a consultant.

He will be sentenced on August 6.

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