A LUDLOW woman who started a sexual relationship with a teenage boy has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Helen Bell, 28, had befriended the schoolboy and had been aware that he was only 15-and-a-half years old.

The matter came to light when the boy and Bell went to visit his family to tell them what had been taking place and the police were informed.

At Shrewsbury Crown Court this week Bell was given a 20-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

Bell, of Jockey Field, had admitted a charge of sexual activity with a child between April and August last year.

In addition Bell was ordered to complete 50 days of rehabilitation, carry out 120 hours unpaid work and pay £500 court costs.

Passing sentence Judge Peter Barrie said that he did not consider Bell to be predatory and it was not a case of abuse of trust because Bell was not a teacher or a scout leader, but considered the age difference was significant.

"The relationship had turned sexual and you had a responsibility to put a stop to it, but you didn't and know it was wrong," he said.

He said that while the teenager had not had a problem as a result of his experience it was the law not to have a sexual relationship with a child under the age of 16.

The court had heard how the sexual contact between the pair had been consensual and the boy had not felt any adverse effects from the relationship.

Reports had revealed that Bell had suffered from a major depression and had a "deep-seated" need for attention.