One of Cambridgeshire's oddest traditions gets under way this morning...
Convicted Birmingham Paedophile Jailed Again
A convicted paedophile from Birmingham's been jailed again after being caught grooming and assaulting young girls.
Darren Whitby had only been out of prison for a few months when last year he began to make contact with the teenagers by phone and social media.
The registered sex offender, who was sentenced to 12 years in 2001 for rape, indecent assault and gross indecency, was handed an 18-year jail term at Birmingham Crown Court today (2 April).
He was also given a lifetime Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) and a Sexual Offender Register Order (SORO).
The sentencing comes after Whitby, of Oak Bank in Hockley, Birmingham, admitted two counts of sexual grooming, breaching a sex offender register order, sexual assault and three counts of sexual activity with a child.
Northumbria Police were contacted by the dad of one of the 38-year-old’s victims, who identified him on a list of frequently dialled numbers, whilst scrutinising his daughter’s £355 phone bill.
When officers from West Midlands Police, who were monitoring him, became aware of the call, an investigation was immediately launched and he was quickly arrested in September 2013.
Officers found evidence he had been regularly visiting the teenagers and uncovered explicit text messages between him and his victims.
When the girls were interviewed by specially trained detectives from the Public Protection Unit (PPU) they told of how Whitby had encouraged them to send naked ‘selfies’ via text message or Facebook.
They also revealed how he coaxed them into meeting him for sex.
DC Mick Clark, from the force’s Public Protection Unit, said: "Darren Whitby is a serial sex offender who poses a real danger to children and young people − the streets are safer with him in prison.
"I want to commend the young girls who gave evidence against Whitby. They were brave to come forward and to work with us to bring him to justice."
He added: "We have specialist officers who work closely with other organisations to support people through every step of the criminal justice process.
"There are a range of measures designed to protect victims, which include giving evidence in court via video link or from behind a screen."
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