Ex-council candidate on sex charges

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A former Ribble Valley UKIP election candidate is due to appear at crown court next week on three charges alleging under-age sexual grooming on the internet.

Ronald John Loebell, 71, of Edisford Road, Clitheroe, was remanded in custody by Blackburn magistrates.

He will appear at Preston Crown Court for a pre-trial review on Friday, August 29, charged with attempting to cause a 12-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity.

The three charges he faces arise out of alleged activity on a teenage chat internet site when he was in contact with someone claiming to be a 12-year-old girl.

It was an undercover police officer.

He faces two charges of attempting to cause a child under 13 to watch/look at an image of sexual activity, and a third charge of attempting to cause/incite a female child aged under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

Blackburn magistrates were told by Catherine Allan, prosecuting, that police were investigating the possibility of other offences and the defendant’s computer was being interrogated.

Loebell was a candidate for UKIP in Edisford Ward in the Ribble Valley Borough Council elections of May 2011.

Loebell also stood for election to Clitheroe Town Council, but was beaten in both contests.

UKIP said that he had retired from local politics and was no longer involved in any way with UKIP Ribble Valley or UKIP East Lancashire.