Man remanded on 'grooming' charge

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A youth consultant appeared in court today accused of grooming a 13-year-old girl for sex online.

Simon Beard, 56, of Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, was remanded in custody at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.

The National Youth Agency consultant is accused of arranging to meet the girl for sex at at Gunnersbury Tube Station, west London, last Thursday.

He is also accused of inciting an underage girl to commit a sex act and exposing himself over a webcam.

Beard also faces a fourth charge accusing him of possessing 110 indecent images of children on his home computer.

A City of Westminster Magistrates' Court spokeswoman said he was remanded in custody and ordered to appear at the same court next Thursday.

Beard was arrested after Sky News reporters undertook an undercover online investigation into men who attempt to groom children for sex.

Investigators monitored the activities of several people on teen chatrooms and posed as a 13-year-old girl called Amy.

The broadcaster then passed a dossier of evidence, including film footage, to the Metropolitan Police.

Beard was employed by the National Youth Agency between 2002 and September last year and continued working for the organisation as a consultant.

In his role he advised young people and youth workers on sexual relationships and counselling.