A South Tyneside teenager who had sex with two underage schoolgirls in the space of a week has been spared jail.
Jonathan Craggs engaged in sexual intercourse with the victims – who were just 13 and 14 at the time – despite being fully aware of their ages.
The 18-year-old’s crimes came to light after the mother of the 13-year-old girl became suspicious about her involvement with an older person and contacted police.
Craggs was 17 at the time of the offences, which he carried out on April 4 and April 9 of last year.
Craggs, of Stirling Avenue, Jarrow, pleaded guilty to two counts of engaging in sexual activity with a girl aged between 13 and 15 at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
DJ Elsey handed Craggs a one-year jail term – but agreed to suspend the term.
Paul Anderson, prosecuting, said: “These are two offences against two different young girls.
“The offences originally came to light after the mother of the first girl became concerned about Facebook and other social media messages which led her to believe her daughter was having contact with older people.
“She made further inquiries and her daughter admitted having a boyfriend who was 16, but said nothing happened.
“A short time after, the girl brought the defendant to her grandmother’s address and she found he was 17 at the time.
“Her mother became suspicious and called police.
“In interview, the girl admitted having sex with the defendant, but said it was consensual.”
The court heard Craggs had sex with a 14-year-old girl just days later.
Janice Hall, defending, said Craggs had not ‘deliberately sought out’ the girls, but knew them through his network of friends.
She said: “There was no coercion, no exploitation or even any alcohol consumed.
“There is no evidence of grooming or manipulation.”
District Judge Elsey said: “Because your victims were too young to consent, these offences are clearly so serious that only a custodial sentence could be justified.
“But I can suspend that sentence as you pleaded guilty and there was no coercion and at the time you were also not an adult.”
Craggs was given a 12-month sentence – suspended for 24 months – and 120 hours of unpaid work.
He must also notify police of any changes in his details for the next 10 years and pay prosecution costs of £80 and an £80 victim surcharge.