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Bridgend man sentenced for grooming children

Matthew Cheshire

A 35-year-old man from Bridgend has been convicted of grooming a 12-year-old girl following a guilty plea at Cardiff Crown Court.

On Thursday May 2, Matthew Cheshire, from the Sarn area, was sent to prison for four years and three months and was issued with a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Detective Constable Laura Davies from South Wales Police’s Online Investigation Team (POLIT) said:

“Matthew Cheshire demonstrated predatory and manipulative behaviour when grooming who he believed to be 12-year-old child.

“POLIT and the Digital Forensic Unit carried out the investigation and further sexual communication with another child was revealed and she was safeguarded from further exploitative behaviour from Cheshire. The work carried out by South Wales Police helped to ensure that children are protected online from the risk Cheshire posed to them.

“Such was the strength of evidence gathered that Cheshire entered guilty pleas to the charges brought against him.”

Tarian case officer DC Isaac Gott said:

“This man believed he was communicating with a 12-year-old child between August and October 2023. The communication turned sexual and it was clear that the defendant had a sexual interest in the child. He formed a close friendship and used this as a platform for grooming, talking about Disney films and told the child that she was pretty.

“Developing a friendship with a child before introducing sexual elements into the conversation is a classic tactic that is commonly observed by sex offenders.

“As a result of a proactive investigation by Tarian, the Regional Organised Crime Unit for southern Wales, the defendant was identified. I cannot over-emphasise the fantastic work conducted by South Wales Police’s Online Investigation Team which conducted a thorough investigation into offences and subsequently identified a further victim of online child sexual abuse. The defendant incited this child to carry out penetrative sexual acts.

“In this case the defendant was completely unknown to law enforcement agencies and I am certain had the defendant not been identified by Tarian, he would have continued to commit offences against children and leave vulnerable children open to sexual exploitation.

“Anyone with any concerns over a child’s safety or welfare should contact the police. Tarian ROCU will continue to work with partner agencies and relentlessly pursue those who have a sexual interest in children.”