A man from Heywood has been jailed after committing a string of sex offences against a child.

Mark Thornton, 38, provided the girl with cannabis, vapes and cash to "buy the victim's silence" after raping her in multiple locations in Rochdale. 

Thornton was arrested in May 2022 and subsequently charged with six counts of rape of a female aged under 13 years.

But he maintained his innocence and denied raping the victim.

However, on Monday, Thornton was sentenced to 27 years at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.

He must also sign the sex offenders' register for life and has been given an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and restraining order.

READ NEXT > Thug stabbed stranger in pub doorway  during night of violence with friend

Detective Constable Martin Adams, from Greater Manchester Police's (GMP) Rochdale’s Child Protection Investigation Unit, said: “Firstly I'd like to pay homage to the victim and her family for having the bravery to support our investigation by coming forward, which would have undoubtedly been a difficult thing for anyone to do.

“I hope this result gives them confidence in the authorities and provides them with a sense of justice whilst coming to terms with this horrible crime.

“Thornton showed no remorse for his actions, sparing little thought for the distressing impact that this could have on his young victim.

“We would encourage anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault, or knows someone who has, to get in touch with GMP. We will always listen to you and investigate all allegations.”

GMP can be contacted via 101 or through the force's Live Chat function on gmp.police.uk. Reports can also be made anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

READ NEXT > Magistrates courts deal with assault, harassment and driving matters

The force has also released the following information:

Report and Support

If you or someone you know has been a victim of rape or sexual assault, we encourage you not to suffer in silence and report it to the police by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.

You can also report information and crimes on gmp.police.uk.

Alternatively, you can report information anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

There are also lots of organisations and support agencies available across Greater Manchester and nationally that can help and provide support for you:

Support for rape and sexual assault

St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre - Manchester provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated response to men, women and children who live or have been sexually assaulted within Greater Manchester. They offer forensic medical examinations, practical and emotional support as well as a counselling service for all ages. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and can be accessed by calling 0161 276 6515.

Trafford Rape Crisis and Manchester Rape Crisis are run by women for women who have experienced rape and sexual abuse. They are both confidential and can provide information, support and counselling service run by women for women over 18 who have been raped or sexually abused at any time in their lives.

We Are Survivors Manchester - provides specialist trauma informed support to male victims in Greater Manchester who have experienced sexual abuse, rape, or sexual exploitation. Call 0161 236 2182.