Clitheroe ex-UKIP man on sex grooming charge


Former Ribble Valley UKIP election candidate Ronald John Loebell is due to appear at crown court next week on three charges alleging under-age sexual grooming on the internet.

Loebell (71), of Edisford Road, Clitheroe, has been sent in custody by Blackburn magistrates to Preston Crown Court for a pre-trial review on Friday, August 29, charged with 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 was in contact with someone claiming to be a 12-year-old girl.

He was, in fact, communicating with an undercover 
police officer.

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

Blackburn magistrates were told by Catherine Allan, prosecuting, that police were investigating the possibility of other offences and the defendant’s computer was being 

Loebell was a candidate
 for UKIP in Edisford Ward in the Ribble Valley Borough Council elections of May 2011 and also stood for election
 to Clitheroe Town Council, but was beaten in both contests.

In February last year, UKIP chiefs in Ribble Valley 
dissociated the party from him following alleged homophobic comments he had made in correspondence to the Press.

They said that he had retired from local politics and was no longer involved in any way with UKIP Ribble Valley or UKIP East Lancashire.