A paedophile has been jailed after he tried to sexually abuse two "girls", who were actually undercover police officers.

Darren Stapleton, a 56-year-old man, was caught out when he spoke to the first officer, who was posing as a nine-year-old girl, on two online messaging platforms between October and December 2022.

Stapleton said that he wanted to touch and have sex with her, and agreed to a time and date to meet up. Further messages were sent to Stapleton, but he didn't respond.

He then struck up an online conversation with the second officer, posing as a 13-year-old girl, between December 2022 and January 2023.

He sent an inappropriate photo of himself and said that he wanted to have sex with her and touch her.

Officers arrested him and seized his devices, which included mobile phones, laptops and hard drives at his home in Great Staughton, on February 11, 2023.

The devices contained 126 indecent images of children, 463 images of bestiality and 942 other images.

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On Thursday, 30 May, at Cambridge Crown Court, Stapleton, of Beachampstead Road, Great Staughton, near St Neots, was sentenced to four years in prison and a further two on licence.

He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to attempting to arrange the commission of a child sex offence, attempting to sexually communicate with a child, possessing an extreme pornographic image and three counts of making indecent images of children.

Stapleton was also handed a 20-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Detective Sergeant Julia Boon said: “Although Stapleton didn’t sexually abuse a child, he showed intent to, and the images found at his home also show he is a danger to children. A child is victimised when an indecent image is taken and every time it is viewed or shared.”

For more on child abuse or to request a disclosure through Sarah’s Law, please see the dedicated pages on the force website.