Sheffield Crown Court has learned how driving instructor Craig Hall, 49, of Swallowest, was trapped by officers posing as young girls on a social media platform.
Christopher Dunn, prosecutor, said: “There was an operation carried out by the police to protect minors who were being exploited by online social media platforms. The aim of the police was to identify and prosecute those responsible.
Hall communicated sexually via an online social platform with two profiles claiming to be young girls between January and February 2020, but they were police decoys, Mr Dunn explained.
Mr Dunn said Hall was arrested at his home and a cell phone revealed 12 other online chats with 11 profiles claiming to be women between the ages of 11 and 15.
The accused discussed his genitals, female private parts, oral sex and masturbation, and he sent a photo of his penis to three of the profiles, according to Mr Dunn, but after his arrest he claimed he had derived no sexual gratification from the conversations.
Hall initially claimed he got bored and started talking to adult women before communicating with two younger female profiles.
But the accused pleaded guilty to 14 counts of attempted sexual communication with a child between September 2019 and February 2020.
Mr Dunn explained that the charges are “attempts” because two of the profiles were decoys and the others could not be found, so it cannot be categorically proven to be children despite the age of the profile.
James Gould, defending, said: “By his own actions he has made himself unemployed. So there has already been a certain degree of punishment and very real changes in his personal and domestic situation. “
Mr Gould added that Hall takes care of his poor wife and mother and he is supported by those close to him.
Recorder Darren Preston told Hall: “The sooner you find out that you are a pedophile and are attracted to children, Mr. Hall, the sooner you will be receptive to treatment.”
Recorder Preston sentenced Hall to 28 months in prison and imposed a Sexual Injury Prevention Order.
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This notice was published: 2021-07-30 18:42:30