Ex UKIP man on child grooming charges

Ron Loebell - UKIP. Ribble Valley Borough Elections 2011. G050511/1z
Ron Loebell - UKIP. Ribble Valley Borough Elections 2011. G050511/1z
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A former Ribble Valley UKIP election candidate has appeared in court accused of three charges alleging under-age sexual grooming linked to the internet.

Ex politician Ronald John Loebell, 71, of Edisford Road, Clitheroe, appeared at Preston Crown Court via a video link from HMP Liverpool.

The defendant, who wore a plain grey jumper and glasses, entered no plea to charges of 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 is accused of being in contact with someone claiming to be a 12-year-old girl.

It is alleged the pensioner was communicating with an undercover police officer.

He faces two charges of being an offender aged 18 or over attempting to cause or incite a child under 13 to engage in 
sexual activity and a third charge of attempting to cause or incite a female child aged under 13 to watch or look at an image of sexual activity.

Paul Brookwell, prosecuting, said no pleas had been entered.

Judge Gibson set the date of Loebell’s next hearing for November 14.

At an earlier hearing magistrates were told 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 Council elections of May 2011 and also stood for election
to Clitheroe Town Council, but was beaten in both contests.

UKIP has previously said Loebell had retired from local politics and was no longer involved with UKIP Ribble Valley or UKIP East Lancashire.