A MAN who groomed two teenage girls in North Yorkshire has been jailed for four years.

Christopher John Jones, 28, befriended the families of the girls in Malton and Scarborough, and even stayed with one of them at the time when the offences occurred, in January and February 2013.

York Crown Court heard Jones had kissed and hugged the 13-year-old girls on many occasions, touched them inappropriately through their clothes, and incited them to touch his genitals over his clothing, and led one to believe she was his girlfriend.

The incidents came to light during an argument, but Taryn Turner, for Jones, said neither of the girls had complained about the defendant prior to this, and said no force was involved.

Mrs Turner said: "There was no force, there was no violence here, and a lot of the allegations were low-level sexual behaviour.

"This man has had very troubled adolescence himself but that does not excuse in any way what he did."

Jones pleaded guilty to six counts of sexual activity with a child, four counts of inciting sexual activity with a child, and one count of attempting to engage a child in sexual activity.

His Honour Judge Kearl sentenced Jones to a total of four years in prison for the offences, and said his actions in befriending the families of the girls showed a breach of trust, and had denied any wrongdoing in police interview.

He told Jones: "You have shown a degree of remorse but found that somewhat difficult. You say that you simply did not appreciate that what you were doing was wrong.

"One of the difficulties in this case is that you do not appear to have appreciated that what you were doing was wrong. You have blamed the girls for their part in it and therefore normalised your behaviour. You described what you were doing as 'a normal relationship' and 'having a laugh'."