Detectives intercept suspect ahead of meeting a child
A man has been convicted after Met officers stopped him while he was on his way to meet a child for sex in south-east London.
An investigation was launched after detectives found out that Muhammed Zeeshan Ali had been speaking to a 13-year-old girl on social media.
He had planned to meet the child outside Canada Water Underground Station on Wednesday, 7 February.
Officers were aware of this and waiting for him to arrive. When he did, he was stopped and arrested.
The 33-year-old, of Rotherhithe New Road in Southwark, tried to destroy his phone by smashing it on the floor.
He was charged the following day and appeared at Croydon Magistrates' Court on Friday, 9 February where he pleaded guilty to attempt to engage sexual communication with a child and attempting to meet a child for sexual grooming.
Detective Sergeant Callum Mantell, from the Met's Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation team, said: "Ali is clearly a dangerous predator who was using social media to attempt to sexually abuse a child.
"We carried out fast-time enquiries to identify him and ensure officers were waiting for him. Our investigation means he has been convicted and will now face the consequences of his actions."
Ali was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at Inner London Crown Court at a later date.
+ Further information about the Met's work to protect children from sexual abuse.
The Met is dedicated to protecting children and doing everything we can to eradicate sexual abuse and exploitation
Our priority is to safeguard children at risk and pursue offenders who orchestrate this abuse through grooming and/or direct contact abuse.
Prevention is key and we know we cannot do this alone. We are working with education and schools officers to ensure schools, parents and children have the information available to identify any potential risks and support age appropriate conversations around keeping children safe.
We want to continue to encourage parents and young people to take appropriate steps to remain safe online.
The internet can be a great space for young people to play, socialise and learn, and offers wonderful opportunities. However, it can be used by offenders to prey on young people and commit serious offences.
We want to urge parents to have conversations with their children about online safety, learn how their children use the internet and, if they notice any behavioural changes in their child, ask questions and explore if there is something worrying them.
If you have any concerns about online child abuse we would urge you to call police on 101, or 999 in an emergency – we have specially trained officers who will listen and investigate where needed.
People who sexually abuse children rely on secrecy to make sure their abuse is not discovered and reported. There can be physical or behavioural signs that a child is being abuse – children often how us rather than tell us something wrong:
- Child suddenly having nightmares or other sleeping problems.
- Becoming withdrawn or very clingy.
- The child acting in a sexual way with toys or objects.
- Personality changes such as outbursts of anger or changes in eating habits.
- Having unexplained gifts such as money, a mobile phone and/or expensive clothes.
For more advice visit:
- The National Crime Agency’s CEOP Education
- Internet Watch Foundation: The IWF campaign aims to empower girls, and warn their parents and carers about the risks posed by online predators targeting children.