A ‘DESPICABLE sexual predator’ who raped a 12-year-old girl has been jailed for nine years.

Imran Pervez, 27, of Pendle Street, Accrington, subjected the youngster to a ‘grave’ ordeal after meeting her following a visit to a Blackburn cinema last summer.

At the time he was on licence from prison after being released just seven weeks earlier for drugs offences.

After the case Detective Cons-table Helen Mercer said: “This was a despicable incident.

“She was a good student, very sociable and got on well with her family.

“Now she is a bitter and angry girl who doesn't know how to deal with what happened to her. It is hard enough when an adult is raped but she is only a young girl.”

DC Mercer said the 12-year-old, who is from the Blackburn area, was with vulnerable friends who were being helped by the Engage project, which was set up after Keep Them Safe, the Lancashire Telegraph investigation into the problem of girls being groomed for sex by older men.

Pervez admitted rape, child abduction and sexual assault of a girl aged under 13.

He was jailed for a total of nine years and was made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

Co-accused Zaheer Khan, 24, of Clifton Street, Accrington, pleaded guilty to one charge of child abduction. He was jailed for 20 months.

The court heard that Pervez had a string of previous convictions and at the time of the offence he had just been released after serving half of a four year sentence for for heroin and cocaine offences.

The court heard that the 12-year-old was out in Blackburn with two 15-year-old friends when they met tPervez and Khan in Darwen Street at around midnight on the night of July 25.

Zoe Neild, prosecuting at Preston Crown Court, said they all five spent around six hours driving around East Lancashire. At around 6am both of the older girls and Khan got out of the vehicle in Oswaldtwistle.

Pervez drove to an alley behind Barden Road and demanded the 12-year-old girl carry out a sex act on him, before he sexually assaulted her.

Judge Stuart Baker told Pervez he had committed a "grave crime".