A MAN has been jailed for 12 months for sending explicit messages and photos to a girl he believed to be 14.
Simon Britton, 50, from Barry, was arrested in December after police received a tip-off from a member of a “paedophile-hunting group” who had met Britton in an online chat room.
The 18-year-old had used a profile picture of herself at a younger age. When Britton started a conversation she told him she was 14.
Sam Shepherd, prosecuting, said Britton sent several messages to the teen, including “a number of suggestive and explicit remarks, and things he wanted to do to her”.
He also asked for revealing photographs and sent explicit images of himself.
The pair arranged to meet in Swansea on December 10, but Britton did not show up. When the 50-year-old tried to arrange another meeting in a remote park, the teen contacted police.
Britton pleaded guilty to sharing the explicit messages and images and was sentenced in Cardiff Crown Court on Monday, February 19.
Christopher Evans, defending, said Britton he had not been in trouble with police or courts before and spending time in custody had been a “sobering experience” for him.
“He realises that when someone says they are 14, he should stop that conversation. As soon as she gave her age he should have stopped any communication.
“This is something he deeply regrets and doesn’t want to go through again, to the extent that he does not even want to go in chat rooms.”
Britton had had problems with alcohol and drugs, including amphetamines, but has worked to overcome these addictions, he added.
“He is not someone who simply buries his head in the sand. He looks to address his issues.”
Sentencing, Judge Eleri Rees told Britton his offence would have been more grave had a genuine child been in danger.
However, the pre-sentence report was “not glowing in terms of the assessment of risk,” and she handed Britton an immediate custodial sentence.
Britton will also be made to sign the sex offenders’ register and be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for the next 10 years.