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'Despicable and dangerous' man jailed for Rotherham sex abuse

A 22-year-old man has been jailed for a decade for attempting to incite teenage girls to engage in sexual activity in Rotherham.

Tom Wilkes Credit: South Yorkshire Police

Tom Wilkes, formerly of Pitt Street, Rotherham, appeared at Sheffield Crown Court today (Monday 23 November) to receive his sentence.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to incite a girl under 13 to commit sexual activity, one count of sexual assault on a girl under 16, one count of causing a child under 13 to look at a sexual image and one count of possession of an extreme image at an earlier hearing.

He was jailed for ten years.

The court heard how Wilkes contacted three girls from the Rotherham area, two of whom were under 13-years-old, via social networking sites.

He bombarded the girls with messages asking them to meet and engage in sexual activity with him, sending crude content and explicit images to the victims.

In January 2015, one of the victims approached an adult and reported the abuse. Police were called and a joint investigation by South Yorkshire Police, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and children’s charity Barnardos was launched.

The investigation progressed and a number of other victims were identified. As part of their enquiries, officers seized Wilkes’ phone and recovered explicit messages sent by Wilkes to his victims.

Wilkes preyed on young teenage girls online, exploiting their vulnerability to try and get them to meet him and engage in sexual acts. His behaviour is despicable and dangerous, and I am relieved he entered guilty pleas and spared his victims the further distress of a trial process.

– Detective Inspector John Fitzgibbons


Rotherham affray – do you recognise this man?

Man could hold 'vital information'

Police continuing their enquiries into a reported affray in Rotherham town centre in August have released a CCTV image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the incident.

At around 12.40am on Sunday August 23rd, a 22-year-old man was reportedly chased by two men in Wellgate, near to the William Fry pub, while he was getting into a taxi with friends.

The man and his friends were not injured, but one of the suspects is believed to have threatened the group with a machete. Police believe the man pictured holds vital information. A 17-year-old youth remains on police bail after being arrested on suspicion of affray last month.

Yorkshire campaigners in Brussels ahead of steel crisis meeting

Campaigners from Yorkshire have been in Brussels this afternoon ahead of an emergency meeting to demand action to save the steel industry.

Hundreds of workers in Rotherham and Scunthorpe stand to lose their jobs with cheap Chinese imports and high energy costs blamed for cutbacks.

The Business Secretary Sajid Javidb has been urged to demand tougher action against the Chinese.

The meeting comes amid rumours of interest from China in Sheffield Forgemasters.

Katie Oscroft reports.


Man bailed as Maltby murder investigation continues

A 29-year-old man has been released on police bail as the investigation into the death of a 38-year-old man in Rotherham continues.

The 38-year-old man, who has been formally identified as Paul Sandford and also known as Paul Dyson, was reportedly assaulted in his home in Littlehey Close, Maltby, at around 1am on Friday 30 October.

He was taken to hospital, where he died on Wednesday 4 November. A post-mortem examination was inconclusive and further tests have been requested to determine the exact cause of death.

The 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder earlier this week. He has been bailed while detectives continue their enquiries.

Police investigate Rotherham hate crime assault

Police in Rotherham have launched a hate crime investigation after a man and a teenage boy were attacked outside a supermarket.

Credit: Press Association

The 20 year old man and 15 year old boy are said to have been verbally abused and assaulted outside the Asda supermarket in Aldwarke Lane, and were left with what police are calling 'minor head injuries'.

The attack took place around 11:30pm on Tuesday night, and police want to hear from anyone who may have information about the incident.

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