A senior detective has issued a warning to those who believe they can abuse, exploit or intimidate vulnerable children and young people.

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Murphy King was speaking after a 34-year-old man was jailed at Teesside Crown Court today (Monday October 30) for two child sex offences and an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

Craig O’Regan, now of Malton, in North Yorkshire, came under investigation after police received a report from a third-party on behalf of a child.

The child in question, an underage teenager, was safeguarded and offered support while inquiries took place.

The Northern Echo: Craig O'Regan, starting 48-month prison sentence imposed at Teesside Crown Court after conviction

O’Regan was charged in the summer, and a trial began at Teesside Crown Court on September 11.

It culminated in him being found guilty of two counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and a count of perverting the course of justice, on September 19.

Trial judge, Recorder Andrew Sutcliffe KC, today sentenced O’Regan to four years’ imprisonment, and made him subject of a five-year restraining order.

He was also ordered to register as a sex offender, for life.

The officer leading the investigation, Detective Sergeant Claire Baker, said: “O’Regan tried to cover up what he had done and even resorted to intimidation and threats of violence to try to silence the youngster and their family.

“However, they were determined to see him brought to justice and very bravely they remained focused on the investigation, helping us secure the best possible evidence; I’m sure they join me in welcoming the sentence.”

Det Chief Insp Murphy-King, of Cleveland Police’s CAVA (child abuse and vulnerable adult) unit, said: “Those who believe they can abuse, exploit or intimidate vulnerable children and young people should be warned that they will be identified, and they will be dealt with."

Read more court stories from The Northern Echo by clicking here

The Northern Echo's latest great offer on digital content is £3 for 3 months for a Premium Plus annual subscription or £47 for an annual subscription (saving 40%). Find out more by clicking here

He added: “Anyone experiencing abuse of any kind, no matter whether recent or non-recent can report in complete confidence.

“My highly trained officers will investigate all allegations and we can arrange support throughout police enquiries and the court process from our specialist local agencies.”

Reports can be made to police at any time, either online on the force website, or by phoning 101.