A THIRTY-FIVE year-old man who pleaded guilty to a number of serious sexual offences against a 13-year-old girl he met and groomed over the internet, has been sentenced to a term of six years imprisonment with other concurrent penalties.

He was put on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Andrew John Lay, a train driver from Milton Keynes, pleaded guilty to two charges of unlawful sexual intercourse, two charges of gross indecency, one charge of indecent assault and four specimen charges of making indecent photographs at Guildford Crown Court on January 24. The offences all involved one victim, a 13-year-old girl from the Camberley area.

Lay appeared at Guildford Crown Court and pleaded guilty to 21 specimen charges of making indecent photographs and was then sentenced for all the offences.

DI Scott Salmon, the senior investigating officer for Surrey Police, said: "Surrey Police have apprehended a dangerous individual who committed these crimes on a young teenage girl targeted through the internet and aggravated by the grooming of the child.

"We welcome the resulting custodial sentence. This case illustrates how important it is for parents to monitor their children's use of the internet, and which sites they are accessing. This result has been achieved through the hard work of a small team."

Surrey Police launched an investigation following a complaint from the victim's parents last October.

The police investigation involved:

l Recovering and examining a large number of text messages sent to the victim by Lay.

l Examining e-mail communications that had taken place between Lay and the victim.

l Collating evidence from the victim's diaries and cross-examining this with phone and computer records.

l Tracing Lay (who had given the victim a false address).

The victim had first met Lay via the internet last July when she was 12 years old. At the time she believed that he was in his early 20s. They communicated regularly, both via the internet and by text message, and arranged to meet.

Lay met the girl a total of three times, on each occasion taking her to woodland in the Surrey Heath area where the offences took place.

A search of Lay's home as part of the investigation led to the discovery of thousands of indecent pictures of children on his computer and digital camera, including over 100 of this victim.

A statement on behalf of the victim's family said: "We are delighted with the sentence and we would like to thank the police. We would like to warn parents of the dangers of their children having access to internet chat-rooms. They must be constantly vigilant of the dangers."