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A man who groomed a boy online via the PlayStation Network has been jailed.

In April 2021, officers received a report from colleagues at Police Service of Northern Ireland that Ashley Brooks (15/06/1996), of Holly Street, Tottington, Bury, was grooming a boy via the PlayStation Network and pretending to be a 13-year-old boy.

Brooks exchanged numbers and started to communicate with the victim on WhatsApp but thankfully, the victim’s mother spotted the messages and reported it to the police.

It was then found that the number was being used at an address in Bury and detectives from Bury CID launched an investigation and arrested him and seized his devices in October 2021.

The PlayStation console seized showed Brooks’ conversations and also identified another victim – 13 – who was in the Birmingham area.

A detective went to inform the victim’s parents in January that their son was being groomed one hour before Brooks arrived at their address asking to meet with the victim.Hours later, he handed himself in at Bury police station and was arrested and charged.Today (28 February 2022)

Brooks was sentenced to two years at Manchester Minshull Street crown court after pleading guilty to child grooming.

He was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years.

Detective Constable James Donnelly, from Bury’s Complex Safeguarding Team, said: “Brooks was clearly a predator online and was targeting young teenage boys online and attempting to meet up with them.

“Thankfully one of the victim’s mums raised concerns and reported them meaning we were able to catch him and unravel his crimes. This is a step towards making the online world that little bit safer for children online now Brooks is behind bars.

“I would urge parents and carers to be cautious about who their children and young people are speaking to online and if there are any concerns, report them.”For more information on how young people can keep themselves safe and how parents and carers can help, visit thinkuknow.co.uk.”

(Photo: Ashley Brooks via GMP)