Sheffield paedophile jailed after railway station Facebook sting

Dean Copley was sentenced to three years in prison for attempting to meet a 14-year-old girl.'Picture: Tom Maddick /
Dean Copley was sentenced to three years in prison for attempting to meet a 14-year-old girl.'Picture: Tom Maddick /
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A Sheffield man who thought he was meeting a 14-year-old girl for sex, has been jailed after a couple who set up a fake Facebook profile confronted him at a railway station.

Sheffield Crown Court heard how Dean Copley, aged 45, of Renathorpe Road, Shiregreen, sent pictures of his penis to a teenager.

But a group calling themselves Online Predator Investigation Team were behind the fake profile.

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The court heard that Copley attempted to meet an underage girl after weeks of online grooming and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Copley was arrested at Sheffield station on 14 February this year, after police were alerted by OPIT, who had confronted him when he arrived there with the intention of meeting an underage girl.

On December 29, the group received a friend request from Copley and once the request was accepted, he immediately began to engage in topics of a sexual nature.

Once the meeting was agreed, the team behind OPIT, a married couple, waited at the station where they confronted Copley and alerted officers who arrested him for attempted grooming.

In questioning Copley admitted sending the pictures but claimed it was by mistake and that he thought he had been conversing with a 16-year-old.

He told officers he had realised the profile was fake but went ahead with the meeting to expose the people behind the sting to police. He later pleaded guilty to attempted grooming.

Sentencing Copley, Judge Kelson QC said: “Perverts must be stopped from preying on children.

“You wanted full sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old child.

“You were not trapped by this couple you were trapped by your own perverted lust.

“This is one of the biggest deterrents that perverts face, full exposure in the media spotlight.”

Detective Inspector Mick Jackson from British Transport Police said:

“This is a significant sentence which sends out a clear message and will hopefully act as a deterrent.

“I would like to praise the efforts of the officers whose hard work brought Copley to court today and helped secure this conviction.

“The details of the case are a stark reminder that young people using social media must be vigilant. If the profile had in fact been that of a 14-year-old girl the consequences of Copley’s intentions would have been extremely serious.

“Anyone who suspects online grooming activity should contact the police immediately.”

Copley was also made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.