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Former foster carer jailed for grooming underage girls

Clifford Warde had sex with one victim and sexually abused the other in Clackmannanshire.

Jailed: Clifford Warde appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh.
Jailed: Clifford Warde appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh.

A former foster carer who groomed underage teenage girls has been jailed for seven years.

Clifford Warde was caught after the mother of one of his victims intercepted messages he sent to her 14-year-old daughter.

After Warde's arrest, officers discovered videos on his phone of him having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Warde a prisoner of HMP Barlinnie, was convicted at the High Court in Glasgow last month of having sex with a teenage girl and grooming another girl over the internet between November 2014 and March 2016.

The 50-year-old admitted making arrangements for the 14-year-old girl to travel to meet him with the intention of taking part in unlawful sexual activity.

He pleaded guilty to having sex with the other girl and sending her sexually explicit texts.

At an earlier hearing, prosecutor Mark McGuire told the court the messages sent to the 14-year-old girl were "too graphic" to read in open court.

Warde also sent explicit messages to the second victim when she turned 13.

The court was told that on a number of occasions Warde recorded himself sexually abusing the girl.

The crimes, which took place at various locations in Clackmannanshire, were reported to police in July 2016 and investigated by specialist officers from Police Scotland's public protection unit in Forth Valley.

Detective inspector Nigel Thacker said: "Warde targeted vulnerable young people and today he is being held accountable for his actions. These types of incidents are thankfully rare.

"Whenever incidents of child abuse are brought to our attention they are investigated fully by specialist officers who are trained to provide dedicated support.

"We hope that for Warde's victims this sentence will bring them some form of closure."

On Wednesday, defence advocate Frances Connor told the High Court in Edinburgh that Warde had expressed remorse for his actions.

Lord Boyd sentenced Warde to seven years in prison and placed him on the sex offenders register.

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