A TEENAGER took advantage of a vulnerable young girl, ignoring warnings and engaging in a sexual relationship, a court heard.

Thomas Daniel Ebdon was arrested once the allegations surfaced, but despite being bailed and told to keep away from the girl, a further sexual encounter took place days later.

Ebdon, then aged 18, of Mostyn Terrace, Cockfield, County Durham, was re-arrested and has been in custody since mid-February.

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Appearing at a plea hearing, at Durham Crown Court, in April, he admitted five counts of sexual activity with an underage girl, all committed in the first six weeks of this year.

He also admitted two counts of child abduction, relating to meeting the girl and a friend of hers, plus doing an act intended to pervert the course of justice, by implying another youth tried to have sex with the girl.

Despite being of previous good character, Ebdon, now 19, was today (June 3) given a sentence of five years and four months in a young offenders’ institution.

Judge Christopher Prince told him that, given the girl’s age, the fact she was willing to engage in sexual activity was a sign of her vulnerability.

“You described her as a willing partner.

“You took advantage of that vulnerability, taking her to a remote area to engage in sexual activity.

“Then, having been arrested, one would have thought you would have avoided her at all costs.

“You did not and, days later, you engaged in further sexual activity with her.”

Dan Cordey, prosecuting, said Ebdon, with younger male teenagers, met the girls at a recreation area.

As he was the oldest, aged over 18 at the time, he bought alcohol to share.

Mr Cordey said the first sexual activity took place in an allotment polytunnel on a cold winter evening.

When concerns were raised he was issued with a fixed penalty notice warning him not to give alcohol to underage youths and advised to steer clear of the girl.

But, despite being arrested and bailed, further sexual activity took place when he met her behind an old building.

Anne Richardson, for Ebdon, said he was immature for his age and his story about another youth having sex with the girl was a bid to “deflect blame” rather than get someone else into trouble.

Having handed in several character references, Miss Richardson added: “This is not the Thomas Ebdon known in Cockfield.

“These events have shocked and rocked that village to the core.”

Ebdon will be subject to registration as a sex offender for the rest of his life.