A paedophile who brought Haribo sweets, condoms and a blanket to a meeting with a “13-year-old girl” he’d groomed on social media has been jailed after being caught in a police sting.
Michael Andrews, 49, struck up a conversation with her on Kik, an instant messenger app popular with under-16s.
He exchanged explicit messages with the fictional youngster – actually a police officer from the regional organised crime unit – over the course of seven weeks, a court heard.
Andrews also promised to give her an old Samsung Galaxy phone with a private number for them to talk and urged her to keep their conversations private.
But when Andrews went to meet the “girl” in August – with the phone, a blanket, condoms and Haribo – he was actually confronted by the police.
He pleaded guilty to four charges, including attempting to engage a child in sexual activity and attempting to encourage a child to watch a sexual act, at Swindon Crown Court on Friday.
Judge Peter Crabtree jailed Andrews for 27 months. He also has to sign the sex offenders' register for 10 years.
The court heard that Andrews set about grooming the girl online over seven weeks, with their conversation, which began in early July 2019, quickly becoming sexual.
He told her he would dig out an old Samsung Galaxy mobile phone for her and fit it with a new sim card so they could talk undisturbed.
Judge Crabtree said: "There are repeated comments to the effect of keeping your communication secret through much of your contact."
Andrews told the girl he would buy a blanket in preparation for their woodland meeting, then sent her a picture of the rug.
On 8 August he drove his work van to woodland off Sandy Lane, Chippenham.
In the back of his vehicle was the mobile phone he had promised the girl, a blanket, condoms and Haribo sweets.
Clare Fear, defending, said her client had entered early guilty pleas, was of previous good character and was remorseful, and that the impact of his offending on his family had been significant.
Sentencing Andrews to 27 months’ imprisonment, Judge Crabtree said: "This was grooming over seven weeks and involved encouragement of a girl who you thought was 13 to [perform a sex act on herself]."
Andrews will be subject to a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.
Freedom of information responses from 29 police forces in the UK revealed that 28 of them had dealt with sexual abuse cases involving the app.