AN amateur footballer is facing jail for cheating on his girlfriend with a schoolgirl who he pressured into having sex.

The teenager did not feel comfortable about the age-gap but felt unable to refuse David Loveday's demands.

The pair had secret meetings near a churchyard in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, Teesside Crown Court heard.

But on one occasion when they had sex on a bridge, they were seen by a number of children who recognised the girl.

Loveday - who is known as Alex - denied a string of under-age sex charges but was convicted after a trial.

The 23-year-old supermarket worker was told by Judge Tony Briggs that he should prepare himself for a prison sentence.

Loveday played for the Northern Dons football team when he met the girl, prosecutor Simon Kealey told the court.

They exchanged mobile phone numbers and sent texts to one another before their friendship developed, he said.

In some text messages, Loveday - who had a partner - told the girl that he loved her, Mr Kealey told the jury.

After his arrest last year, Loveday told police that nothing sexual had ever happened between the pair.

He said he could not explain why the teenager would make allegations against him, and told the jury he was innocent.

But the court heard how at least one of the girl's school friends knew she was in a sexual relationship with the man.

The jury found him guilty of six charges of sexual activity with a child and one each of causing a child to engage in sexual activity and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Loveday, of Bankhead Road, Northallerton, will be sentenced on in a fortnight after background reports have been prepared.

He was remanded in custody until his next appearance, but was told by the judge: "A custodial sentence is inevitable."

During a three-day trial, the girl told the court how she felt under pressure to give in to what Loveday asked her to do.

The relationship came to light last summer when her phone, containing the messages, was seen by others at her school.

In his interview with police, Loveday said he did not text the teenager too much because he spent most of his time with his girlfriend.

However, analysis of his phone showed he had sent 30 and received 33 messages, while on another day there were 77 exchanges.

Mr Kealey said: "There was barely a day going by without text contact between the two of them."

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