A man has been jailed after using the internet to try to arrange a meeting whereby he could sexually abuse a child.

Martin Parker, from Evercreech, pleaded guilty in court after evidence was gathered to show he had sent numerous messages in February and March this year for that purpose.

However, the 76-year-old was not aware that his online activity was the subject of a police investigation, preventing any child being put at risk.

Parker was arrested at his home address in May and remanded into custody upon being charged.

He was sentenced at Taunton Crown Court on Wednesday, 19th July after pleading guilty to one count of arranging the commission of a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

Parker received a nine-year sentence – consisting of a four-year prison term with a further five years to be served on licence. He also received a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and will be a registered sex offender for life.

His Honour Judge Edward Burgess said Parker’s actions were ‘utterly despicable and contemptuous’.

Temporary Detective Sergeant Harvey Ahern, officer in the case, said: “At Avon and Somerset Police we are committed to the protection of children and the prosecution of offenders seeking to harm them, whether be that online or in person.

“There are no safe spaces for offenders to hide that we will not find.”