A MAN has been jailed for eight years after being convicted of sexual offences against an underage girl in Barnsley.

Philip Wright, 37, of South Drive, Bolton-upon-Dearne, was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court on April 15.

He was convicted in March of seven counts of sexual activity with a child under 16 following a five-day trial.

Wright got in touch with the victim via Facebook in April 2014 when she was 15 years old.

He began sending her sexually explicit messages and persuaded her to meet up with him.

Wright then pressured her to have sex with him. They met up on a number of occasions over the next few months.

Police were contacted in September 2014 after the victim’s mum received a phone bill for £500. When she checked her daughter’s phone she found sexually explicit messages from Wright on Facebook.

Wright was arrested and initially charged with two counts of sexual activity with a child.

Detective Constable Helen Swift said: "Wright is a cold and calculated individual. He preyed on a young girl who was vulnerable due to her age and took advantage of her.

"By putting her through the traumatic process of reliving what happened in court he has caused her further distress and anxiety.

"I want to praise the courage of the victim who has been incredibly strong throughout the investigation and the trial, as well as her family who have remained dignified throughout."