A PERVERT who plied a teenager with drink and repeatedly had sex with her has been locked up for eight years.

Sean Devitt, 31, groomed the girl, striking when she felt unloved and unwanted and she was flattered by his attentions, a court was told.

Devitt, who had a girlfriend at the time, flirted with the girl, started to kiss her and then had sex with her.

His illegal behaviour continued even after he had owned up to sexual activity with her and had been cautioned, Burnley Crown Court heard.

The hearing was told how the defendant, who was caught when listening equipment was set up, was later arrested.

He was questioned by police over the allegations, claimed the conduct he had been cautioned for had been a one-off drunken incident and alleged the girl was ‘simply making it all up’.

Devitt eventually confessed on the day he was due to face trial. The defendant, of Booth Court, Burnley, admitted seven sexual offences. He was also ordered to sign the Sexual Offences’ Register for life.

Louise Kitchin, prosecuting, said Devitt bought the teenager gifts, made her laugh, flirted with her, tickled her and involved her in play fighting.

Miss Kitchin told the court: “She was flattered by the attention. The defendant made her feel special at that difficult time in her life."

The defendant gave the teenager alcohol and cigarettes, kissed her and then regularly engaged in sexual activity and intercourse with her. The pair also performed sex acts on each other.

Miss Kitchin said Devitt was arrested and interviewed at length at Burnley Police Station.

She said: “He maintained nothing had happened, he had always acted appropriately towards her.

“He said there had not been a physical or sexual relationship and she was simply making it all up."

The court was told the defendant was placed on the Sex Offenders' Register after the caution.

Tim Storrie, for Devitt, said: "There has to be a reckoning for this sort of behaviour and today is that reckoning.

“He will receive a custodial sentence and it will be a long one."

Sentencing, Judge Andrew Woolman said it was an aggravating feature that Devitt's conduct continued even after the caution.

He told the defendant: "It's serious offending. The only mitigating feature is that you pleaded guilty, but it takes some bravery for any sex offender to plead guilty, even at trial.”