AN Evesham man is behind bars after pleading guilty to six child sexual abuse charges, including the assault of a child under 13-years-old.

Christopher Michael Pennington, aged 39 from Aldington, Evesham, was sentenced to five years and nine months in prison when he appeared at Worcester Crown Court on Friday, August 11.

Pennington admitted the assault, attempting to arrange a meeting with the intention of sexually assaulting a child, possessing indecent images of children, and distributing an indecent image of a child.

He has also been placed on the sex offender register for the rest of his life, and made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order until further notice.

Pennington was arrested by officers from the Operation Safenet team - specialist officers who investigate those involved in online child sexual exploitation within West Mercia.

Detective Inspector Gavin Kinrade said: "I hope that this result gives a clear warning to other offenders that we are absolutely committed to protecting children from sexual abuse and online child sexual exploitation.

"Tackling child sexual exploitation remains a priority for West Mercia Police and we remain steadfast in our commitment to preventing children being abused and exploited, to bring to justice to all those who commit such horrific crimes and to ensure that the public are confident that they can come forward and talk to us about their concerns for a child's safety.

"We understand that cases such as this can cause people within the community concern, particularly parents. We would like to offer reassurance that we are committed to doing everything within our power to protect children and vulnerable people."

Anyone with concerns that a child might be a victim of sexual exploitation or abuse is asked to report this to police by calling 101.

"Specialist officers, working together in partnership with support agencies across our region, are here to listen, to investigate and to bring perpetrators of these horrific crimes before the courts," DI Kinrade added.

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