A Burgess Hill man has been sent to prison for sexual offences against a teenage girl.
Matthew Berry, 21, a sales representative from Meadow Lane, Burgess Hill, appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Friday October 2 having previously pleaded guilty to grooming, child abduction and penetrative sexual activity with a girl in the mid-Sussex area.
Berry was sentenced to three years and seven months imprisonment and was given an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) which prohibits him from any unsupervised access with children under 16.
He was also barred from any contact with the child victim until she is 18 years old.
Berry will also be on the sex offenders register for an indefinite period.
The prosecution followed an investigation by child protection detectives in West Sussex.
DC John Hord of the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigation Unit said; “Berry systematically groomed this vulnerable child over a prolonged period of time which eventually led to their relationship becoming sexual.
“He failed to listen to a warning given to him by the police and continued this relationship with the girl, despite being served with a written warning and being arrested and given conditions not to see her.
“His actions have had a devastating effect on the her family life and will continue to affect this family into the future.
“This sentence and the SHPO should reinforce the message to Berry that his behaviour will not be tolerated and that children will always be be protected so they that can develop and grow without unwanted attention.”
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