A 41-YEAR-OLD man followed his 11-year-old victim through Barnsley town centre after spotting them wandering the streets alone.

Ziad Taibi, of Spencer Street, approached them, asked them how old they were and then convinced them to come home with him. He assured them they would be safe, but instead he sexually assaulted and raped his young victim before getting them to leave and planning how he would flee the area and escape justice.

DC Alice Gilbert said: "Barnsley CID, with the support from policing teams across Barnsley, conducted numerous enquiries working around the clock for several days, trawling hours’ worth of CCTV and conducting house to house enquiries resulting in the suspect being located and arrested quickly and the scene identified.

"These diligent enquiries resulted in vital evidence being secured and the offender being brought to justice swiftly.”

Taibi was today jailed for a total of 15 years.

DC Gilbert added: “This was a very traumatic incident that raised concerns in the community. I hope this sentencing helps the victim heal and reclaim some of what was taken from them. I cannot thank the victim enough for their will and courage during this investigation.

"South Yorkshire Police takes all reports of rape extremely seriously and we work tirelessly to bring offenders to justice, and we encourage children and adults to come forward to make reports and will offer support to victims of abuse."