Football coach charged with child sex offences to appear in court

Multiple cars were set on fire during an arson attack at a dealership in Norwich.  

A man from Blofield will appear in court after being charged with sexual offences against children. - Credit: Archant

A 31-year-old football coach is set to appear in court next week after being charged in connection with sexual offences against children.

A man was arrested in Norwich on Thursday, January 6, following an investigation into the making of indecent images, sexual communications, and inciting children to engage in sexual acts as a result of information received about a social media account.

He was taken to Wymondham Police Investigation Centre and questioned.

Subsequently, Jonathan Clarke, of Highview Close, Blofield, was charged with seven offences and appeared at Norwich Magistrates court on Saturday 8 January 2022 and was remanded in custody.

Clarke has since been charged with a further two offences.

He is accused of three counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, two counts of sexual communications with a child, one count of blackmail and three counts of making an indecent image of a child.

He is due to appear before Norwich Crown Court on Friday, February 11.

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The offences are alleged to have happened between December 2019 and January 2022 and are claimed to have taken place online.

Police have confirmed that some of Clarke’s alleged offences are connected with his role at Lingwood Primary School, where he is employed by Soccer Stars football academy.

Clarke also worked at Thorpe St Andrew High School and as a coach with youth teams at Blofield United Youth Football Club. He has been immediately suspended from these roles.

Senior investigating officer Dave McCormack said: "Our priority is to safeguard and protect children and all the relevant and necessary measures are in place for those involved.

"We understand news of these allegations will cause concern among parents and the local community.

"We would encourage anyone to report concerns or suspicions they may have to police by calling 101 and ask to speak with a member of the Safeguarding Children Online Team."

Police are working with the NSPCC and have commissioned a helpline to provide support to children and their families in relation to this investigation.

The helpline is 0800 389 5347 and will be operational from tomorrow (Thursday, February 3) from 8am.