Warning after Louth women and girls are targeted online

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Facebook users in the Louth area have been asked to be vigilant after a number of women - and young girls - received undesired messages and friend requests from an individual.

The Facebook account - which is suspected to be under a false name - has sent a number of “perverted” messages to women and, in some cases, has added young girls too.

The profile has since disappeared from Facebook, although there are concerns that the individual may set up another account under another false name and continue.

Louth woman Julie Ann Farrell, 47, received a friend request from the individual last week but did not accept the request. Later that day, the incident was mentioned during a conversation with her family at which point her niece, who is in her early 20s, recognised the name and warned her about him.

Her niece had accepted a friend request from the man in the past, only to be sent a number of crude, sexual messages afterwards.

Julie later returned home and logged on to her 11-year-old daughter’s Facebook account - over which she has full parental control - and was horrified to discover that her child had also received a friend request from the same man. She immediately blocked and reported him to Facebook.

Julie said: “It just makes me so angry. His account has gone now, but in a few weeks or months time he may well come back with a new profile and a new false name. We don’t know who he is - he could be a paedophile.

“Some parents are not aware, or not bothered, about their children’s Facebook profiles and just let them get on with it.

“People need to know that this is happening, and they need to be aware and vigilant.”

After relaying her concerns on a local Facebook group, a large number of other women commented to say they had experienced similar issues with the man.

One woman said that her 12-year-old daughter had received messages from the man, prompting another commenter to say: “If messages from him were inappropriate in any way, report it to the police.

“If this person is a predator setting out to groom young girls he needs stopping.”

Lincolnshire Police PCSO, Nigal Wass, said: ““Parents naturally want to do all they can to ensure their children are safe in all aspects of life.

“Knowing what advice to give, or what signs to look out for when their children are online, can be a challenge for parents, especially if they’re not computer users themselves.”

• If you have serious concerns over illegal messages being sent to underage children, contact the police.

For further information about online safety, visit www.thinkuknow.co.uk (which contains advice for children, parents and carers) or visit the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre website at http://ceop.police.uk.