A lorry driver has been jailed for attempting to meet a child for sex in the back of his vehicle.

Martin Harrison, 48, used an instant messaging app to send explicit messages to who he thought was a 12-year-old girl but was actually an undercover officer from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU).

Over the course of a week in October 2019, Harrison encouraged the girl to meet up with him for sex despite him being told of her age at the very beginning of their conversation.

Harrison-desktop
Martin Harrison

He told her he was due to travel to France by ferry on Monday 21 October and arranged to meet her in Dover town centre the evening before.

Instead he was greeted by Kent Police officers who arrested him and took him into custody.

Harrison, of Walsall, the West Midlands, later pleaded guilty to attempted sexual communication with a child, arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, and attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

He was jailed for three years when he appeared for sentencing at Canterbury Crown Court on Monday 17 January 2022 and was also made subject of a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Danger

Investigating officer Detective Constable Leanne Carter of Kent Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team said:

‘Although no child was at risk in this particular case, the graphic nature of the messages sent by Martin Harrison leave no doubt in my mind that he poses a very real danger to children.

‘Even though the subject of his conversation made it very clear she was only 12 years old, he persisted with his attempts to meet her for sex with scant regard for the devastating long-term impact such offences have on victims.

‘I hope this case sends a clear message that law enforcement agencies like Kent Police and ERSOU have their eyes and ears everywhere, and that we will not hesitate to step in to help safeguard those who need our protection the most.’

By Ed

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