A Huntingdon man who was caught in a police sting operation after he made online contact with what he believed was a 12-year-old girl has been jailed.

Paul Day, 58, of New Road, Woodwalton, near Huntingdon, used a fake name on the app Kik to start conversations of a sexual nature with what he believed was a 12-year-old girl.

Between 14 October and 1 November he sent a number of inappropriate messages to the girl, who was in fact a police officer.

On one occasion he said he was in Leeds, where he believed the girl lived, and asked her which school she attended. A few days later he said he would be in the city again and wanted to meet her.

When officers arrested Day (pictured) and searched his place of work where they found a tablet computer with 21 indecent images of children. Five were classed as category A – the most severe.

Day pleaded guilty to attempting to incite a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, attempting to cause a child under 13 to watch or look at an image of sexual activity, attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and three counts of making indecent photos of a child.

Today at Cambridge Crown Court, Day, was sentenced to two years and four months in prison. He was also given a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.

Detective Constable Paul Baysting said: “Day sent these extremely sexualised messages in the genuine belief that he was contacting a 12-year-old girl.

“The fact that he asked what school she went to and attempted to arrange a meeting is particularly sinister. Fortunately on this occasion he was in fact communicating with a police officer.

“Protecting the county’s children is one of our priorities and we will continue to work hard every day to keep young people safe.”