A DARWEN man investigated by Operation Engage is facing jail after grooming a girl through mobile phone texts before engaging in sexual activity with her.

Steven Davis, 35, of Preston Street, Darwen, pleaded guilty to one offence of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and another of sexual activity with a child.

After the case the 14-year-old girl's mum warned parents to learn the lessons of the case in that sexual grooming could also take place via mobile phone texts.

Davis's pleas were entered on the day he had been due to face a trial at Preston Crown Court. The charges cover dates between July and August 2009.

Rowena Goode, prosecuting, said the pleas to the two charges were acceptable to the Crown.

She said the first incident involved meeting the defendant by the canal. They had met there on previous occasions.

Some alcohol was consumed. There was sexual activity and the girl had pushed his hand away.

The second offence concerned a separate meeting that took place shortly after the first. On that occasion Davis was said to have kissed and hugged the girl . She pushed him away.

Miss Goode said the offences were set against a background of text messages between the two.

"What is apparent from the text messages is that the girl didn't like what had taken place.

"The messages are to the effect that the defendant apologised for that."

After the case the mother of the 14-year-old child thanked the police for investigating after she found the text messages on her daughter’s mobile phone and called 999.

She said: “I was totally horrified by what I found. Without checking that phone, I dread to think what could have happened. She met this man on a bus on her way to school. It is important to know that not all grooming takes place on the Internet.

“It is often vulnerable children who are not self-confident. My view as a parent is do you know who your child is talking to?"

Defence barrister Miss Rachel Woods said his client expected to be jailed.

Judge Graham Knowles QC agreed to continue the defendant's bail.

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