Reece Cano repeatedly sought indecent images of a child he believed to be 12-years-old.
Cano further arranged to meet the girl in order to carry out further abuse, preparing to meet the girl in a “quiet location” in the Snodland area.
Unbeknown to Cano, the child in question did not actually exist.
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A search warrant was executed at his home on October 11 2020, leading to the discovery of a mobile phone which corroborated the evidence of online conversations carried out with the goal of soliciting sex from a child.
Cano was charged with two counts of attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity, attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, and arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.
He was further charged with breaching a sexual harm prevention order, which had been imposed in 2019 following previous and unrelated convictions for sex offences.
Cano pleaded guilty to all charges at Maidstone Crown Court and was sentenced yesterday (April 20).
“He has displayed a clear desire and determination to sexually abuse a child”
Sentenced for four years, Cano will serve at least two-thirds of his sentence before he can be considered for parole.
Described by the court as a “dangerous” sexual offender, he will also be subject to a sexual harm prevention order, and has been added to the sex offenders register where he will remain indefinitely.
Kent Police Investigator Natalie Armstrong, of the West Kent Offender Management Unit said: “Reece Cano made persistent and repeated efforts to contact a child for the purposes of his own gratification.
“He has displayed a clear desire and determination to sexually abuse a child and the graphic detail he included in his messages was hugely concerning.
“This case acts as a reminder to parents of children who have mobile phones and tablets to speak to them and help them understand the precautions they should take when using the internet, or the many instant messaging services that are available.
“Children should only communicate with people that they know personally and report any suspicions or inappropriate advances from strangers to their parents, schools or the police.”
An NSPCC spokesperson commented on the case, stating:
“Cano’s coercive actions have shown him to pose a real threat to children, and his use of online platforms to groom what he thought was a 12-year-old girl highlights the risks young people are currently facing on the internet.
“The NSPCC will continue to push the Government on the upcoming Online Safety Bill with an aim to ensure the regulation is robust enough to detect and prevent the sexual abuse of children, with the power to impose legal sanctions on tech firm directors whose companies fail to meet their duty of care.”