A FORMER special constable who groomed and engaged in sexual activity with a child from Thurrock has been jailed for five years.
America Luke Richardson sent about 4,000 messages to a 14-year-old girl from Thurrock and met her in a hotel, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.
The 22-year-old had previously been dismissed by the force after he stole uniform and visited schools without authorisation.
Richardson, of Salford, was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court.
He was also given a sexual harm prevention order and will be on the sex offenders’ register for life.
He admitted six counts of sexual activity with a child, one of grooming and one of taking indecent photographs of a child.
Richardson earlier pleaded guilty to theft of police uniform worth Â£970
GMP suspended Richardson in January 2014 after finding he had "used his role inappropriately" while entering a school without authorisation on an independent patrol.
But, after removing his uniform and warrant card from him, Richardson was again found to have gone to a sixth form college while wearing police uniform.
On searching his home, officers found a large quantity of police uniform to the value of Â£970 and arrested him on suspicion of theft.
Subsequent allegations of inappropriate contact with children prompted a new investigation in September 2015.
Richardson’s confiscated phone and computer revealed 4,000 messages had been sent to a 14-year-old girl in Thurrock
She revealed they had met up in a hotel booked by Richardson.
He was then charged with a number of sexual offences and remanded in custody before being formally dismissed in April.
Supt Mark Kenny said: "I am pleased that America Luke Richardson is now off the streets and unable to harm any more young girls.
"We are continuing to investigate the possibility that Richardson may have more victims and we are appealing for anyone who may have been approached inappropriately by him online, or in person, to come and speak to police."