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Wednesday, 26 April, 2000, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Chat room danger warning

Children are open to the dangers of the internet
Parents are being warned of hidden dangers in internet chat rooms after a teenage girl was duped into meeting a 47-year-old man.

The man had introduced himself as a 15-year-old when they first began swapping messages before admitting he was 18.

Eventually the 13-year-old girl, who has not been identified, agreed to meet him.



To take this to the worst possible conclusion, we may not still have our daughter now.

The girl's mother
But her mother - suspicious of the unknown teenage boy - went with her daughter to the meeting and was horrified to find the young man was in his 40s.

The mother said: "To take this to the worst possible conclusion, we may not still have our daughter now.

"As they were talking I went up to him and said I was her mother, that she was lovely and we love her, and that he must understand that. He said: `Yes'.

"I said: `You are not 17', and he answered `Yes I am', but then admitted he wasn't, and I took her away immediately."

She said her daughter had been looking forward to her first meeting with her chat room friend and was devastated that he turned out to have been a middle-aged man.

No charges

Chief Inspector Neville Pinkney, of Milton Keynes Police, said: "This was a most disturbing case, and had it not been for the vigilance of the girl's mother, the 13-year-old could have placed herself at quite considerable risk."

He said the case showed that adults are using the net for sinister reasons and warned parents to be alert to the internet's possible misuse.

The 47-year-old was arrested but released without charge. Officers said there was insufficient evidence to show that an offence had been committed.

During the course of the girl's internet chats with the man his questions became more and more intimate and he asked her to send him pictures of herself.

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