A 35-year-old man has been jailed for more than three years after admitting child sex offences.
Hayden Pinney, of no-fixed-address, was sentenced at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on 13 January after pleading guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child; attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming; attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity; and two charges of attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act between January and February 2019.
The court heard how the offences came to light following work by an online child abuse activist group who used adult decoys pertaining to be two different 13-year-old girls on social media.
Pinney sent sexual messages to those who he believed were the girls. He then arranged to meet up with one of them in February 2019 and was arrested at Stoke-on-Trent train station, where his mobile phone was seized.
Officers found the messages sent by Pinney to the individuals and he was subsequently charged, before pleading guilty to all charges at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on 12 January.
Pinney was jailed for a total of three years and eight months.
He was also placed on the sex offenders register for an indefinite period.
PC Amanda White, of the force’s child protection and exploitation team (CPET), said: “I am pleased with the sentence given to Pinney and am happy we have been able to secure this successful prosecution.
“I hope this reassures the public that we take this type of crime very seriously.
“I would urge anyone who believes they, or someone they know, has been affected by this kind of crime to get in touch with police.”
If you have been affected by child sexual abuse, please contact Staffordshire Police on 101 or call 999 in an emergency.
Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 111 555.