A Lancashire teenager has been jailed for raping an underage girl and committing sexual assaults against two others after befriending them on Facebook.

Joshua Stanley raped a 14-year-old girl in a secluded wood before raping her for a second time at her house later the same day.

The 19-year-old was found guilty of two counts of rape and two other sexual assaults against underage girls, following a two-week trial at Preston Crown Court.

Judge Graham Knowles QC called Stanley a "dangerous offender" and sentenced him to 12 years at a young offenders institute followed by four years on extended licence last Friday (13 October).

The court was told during the July trial that Stanley met the first victim, a 14-year-old girl girl from Rossendale in Lancashire, in February 2016 through a mutual friend, before they began chatting on Facebook.

During half-term in May, they attended a party at a friend's house, where Stanley sexually assaulted the victim.

The second girl was just 12 years old when she met Stanley, from Haslingden, on Facebook. They talked between the end of February and the beginning of April 2016, which resulted in Stanley visiting her at her home, also in Rossendale, where he sexually assaulted her.

In July last year, Stanley began talking to another 14-year-old girl, once again on Facebook. They arranged to meet in August 2016 near to a wooded area in Great Harwood, a Lancashire town five miles north east of Blackburn, where he raped her. They then went to her home address where he raped her for a second time.

The court added that Clegg must serve at least eight years of his sentence before he is eligible for parole. He was also handed an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and restraining order.

Detective Inspector Leah Rice from Blackburn Police said: "Joshua Stanley showed predatory behaviour targeting vulnerable young victims, whose ages he was aware of, and I am pleased this has been reflected in today's result.

"This has been a difficult enquiry and the victims in this case have shown considerable courage and strength during the investigation and subsequent court case. They have been supported by specialist officers throughout."

An NSPCC spokesperson told the Accrington Observer: "Stanley carried out serious and appalling sexual offences against his young victims. He is a danger to children and it is right that he is now facing the consequences of his actions with a lengthy jail term."