A 33-year-old man has been sentenced to six years in prison for online child grooming offences.

Simon Howard, from Llanybydder, appeared at Swansea Crown Court on 9 October for sentencing.

He had previously pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual communications with a child, inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and arranging/facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.

The investigation into Howard was led by Tarian, the Regional Organised Crime Unit for southern Wales, with support from Dyfed Powys Police.

The court heard how Howard used social media platforms to engage with the online profile of someone he believed to be a 12-year-old girl, but who was actually an undercover Tarian officer.

In conversations, the 33-year-old acknowledged that he was speaking to a child before graphically describing numerous sexual acts, and detailing plans to meet with the child.

Howard was also ordered to sign on the sex offenders register for 10 years and was provided with a sexual harm prevention order with stringent conditions for the next 10 years.

Detective Inspector Mathew Davies, of Tarian, said: “This is excellent joint working between Tarian and Dyfed Powys Police.

The focus of the operation was to target high harm offenders, whilst safeguarding and protecting children.”

Detective Inspector Leon Lewis, from Dyfed Powys CID added: “Simon Howard displayed predatory behaviour and groomed who he believed was a 12-year-old child. It is our absolute priority to protect and keep children safe in our communities.”

“The work carried out by Tarian ROCU and Dyfed Powys Police has helped to ensure that vulnerable children are protected from the risk Howard poses to them.”

“If anyone has been a victim of child sexual abuse, I urge you to report it to your local police force via 101. We will always follow up allegations of abuse, no matter when they occurred. Victims can talk in confidence to experienced investigators and we can also help them get access to a range of other support services.”

“If you have concerns about your use of the internet or inappropriate thoughts or behaviour about children or if you are worried about how someone you know behaves around children or are worried about their use of the internet then the Lucy Faithfull Foundation provide a free, anonymous and confidential Stop It Now! helpline on 0808 1000 900 for advice, support and information.”