A Catford shopkeeper has been jailed after befriending, grooming and attempting to rape a 14-year-old girl who visited his store.

Gerard Morgan has been described as “every parent’s nightmare” after sexually abusing his young victim and offering her presents and compliments.

The 46-year-old, of Sandhurst Road, ran a shop that sold baseball caps in Sandhurst Road and first befriended the girl after she came to look at some of the caps in autumn 2012.

Morgan was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on June 30 to five years in prison for attempted rape, four years for grooming a child, and six months for sexual assault, to run concurrently.

The court heard how Morgan started offering the victim lifts in his car where he sexually abused her and bought her presents including an iPad mini.

Police were alerted to the abuse after she was taken to an address in Blackheath in January last year and offered an orange juice drink.

She passed out and woke hours later to find her clothes dishevelled and told someone who alerted officers.

Morgan was arrested in February last year and denied the allegations but his phone showed he had contacted the victim hundreds of times in the short period they had known each other.

He was charged in December last year and found guilty of all charges on June 30.

Detective Constable Ken Tran of the sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command (SOECA), who led the investigation, said: "Gerard Morgan is a dangerous offender who exploited a very vulnerable child for his own sexual needs.

“The victim has shown courage in reporting Morgan, who has now been convicted and will go to prison for a long time, safeguarding other children.

"On release he will be monitored as a registered sex offender."

Detective Chief Inspector Pete Thomas, also of SOECA, added: "Gerard Morgan is every parent's nightmare, a sex offender who targets children and tries to beguile them with presents and compliments.

"I believe there will be other victims and I urge them to tell us about what has happened.

“I would also encourage anyone who has been a victim of sexual exploitation or grooming, or someone who may have information about offenders targeting children, to call us, so we can protect other children."

Anyone with information about Gerard Morgan is asked to contact SOECA via police non-emergency number 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.