A MAN was jailed yesterday, for 18 years, after being found guilty of the abduction and rape of a 12-year-old girl.

Steven Letts, 39 and of Barton Street, Gloucester, gave the young victim drugs and vodka before having sexual intercourse with her in his flat.

Letts encouraged the vulnerable victim to leave her support worker on March 6 this year while they were in Gloucester Quays.

The young girl had approached Letts while he was cycling in the street and asked him for a cigarette.

Gloucestershire Constabulary officers found the victim the following morning in his flat and Letts was arrested.

He denied the charges but was found guilty of the crimes last week following a trial at Gloucester Crown Court. He was sentenced to eight years for rape.

He was also sentenced to 10 years to run consecutively for an earlier aggravated burglary at a home on High Street in Tredworth, Gloucester on May 5 last year.

Letts and his co-defendant were armed with a machete and wearing balaclavas when they broke into the property and demanded money and drugs.

Detective constable Lindsay Tomkinson of Gloucestershire Constabulary, who lead the rape and abduction investigation, said: "I would like to thank the young victim who showed great courage and bravery in coming forward and for our partner agencies which provided invaluable assistance and support to the victim along the way.

"This has been a difficult case for the young victim to relive in court and for the witnesses who gave evidence during the trial.

"We have a dedicated team who specialise in investigating rape and serious sexual assaults and we are committed to ensuring that victims are treated with care, respect and receive support. We strive to do everything we can to bring offenders to justice."

Victims of sexual assault can contact police by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency, or the Sexual Assault Referral Centre on 01452 754390.