Philip Templey, 42, sent a friend request to young girl on social media in February last year and engaged her in conversation over a number of weeks.
The profile of the girl was fake and had been set up by an online child activist group, however, Templey believed it to be a real 12-year-old girl.
As the weeks went by, Templey continued to engage the “girl” in conversation and the content became more sexually explicit.
The pair eventually arranged to meet in March 2019, but Templey didn’t show.
The group behind the profile tracked Templey down at his home and confronted him as to why he was speaking to a 12-year-old girl online. They then called the police and Templey was arrested.
When questioned by police Templey initially claimed he didn’t think the conversations between him and the girl were offensive or inappropriate.
Templey, of Godmanchester, Huntingdon, later pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and attempting to meet a girl under 16.
He appeared at Cambridge Crown Court on August 4 and was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 24 months, given a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and put on the sex offenders register for 10 years.
PC Josh Gallimore, who investigated, said: “It’s clear Templey poses a real risk to children and thanks to his sentence on Tuesday, we will be able to continue to monitor his behaviour online, minimising further risk to the public.”
Anyone who is concerned someone may have been convicted of a sex offence, and could be posing a risk to someone, can apply for disclosure information through Clare’s Law and Sarah’s Law.
For information and advice about child abuse, including sexual abuse, visit the force website: www.cambs.police.uk/childprotection.
Anyone who has concerns about child abuse should contact police on 101 (or report online at www.cambs.police.uk/report), children’s social care or the NSPCC. If a child is in immediate danger always call 999.