An online groomer from Exmouth has been jailed for the third time after being trapped by an undercover police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.

Antony Turner was still on prison licence and subject to an order which was supposed to control his online behaviour when he was caught by the sting operation in June 2021.

An officer from the Derbyshire police set up a false profile of a 13-year-old called Holly on the Chat IW site and was contacted by 28-year-old Turner, who moved their conversation to Snapchat.

He offered to travel to Derby to have sex with the child and when the decoy told him she had no experience, he replied ‘It is okay. I can teach you’. Another message said ‘I want to f*** you’.

Turner was jailed in 2015 for arranging to meet a child he met online and again in 2019 for a similar offence which he committed while he was supposed to be attending a Sex Offenders’ Treatment Programme.

He was also subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) which banned him from communicating with children and required him to tell police about all internet-enabled devices so they could monitor his online activity.

He broke that order by having a phone which he did not register with the police, although the one which he used for the sex chats had been notified, which was why the police were able to trace him so quickly.

He was recalled to serve the rest of that 20 months sentence and has been in prison ever since.

Turner, now of no fixed abode but previously of Exeter Road, Exmouth, admitted attempted sexual communication with a child and breach of a SHPO and was jailed for a year and eight months with a four year extended licence by Judge Stephen Climie at Exeter Crown Court.

He told him: “Your offending on this occasion was online activity. You believed you were communicating with a female child but in fact it turned out to be an undercover officer.

“The very serious aggravating factor is the level and nature of the breach of the order, coupled with your offending history.”

Mr Paul Grumbar, prosecuting, said the communication with the undercover officer began in June 2021 and Turner was arrested at the end of that month after police traced him through his phone.

Miss Emily Cook, defending, said Turner suffers from mental health issues including severe autism and has difficulty with normal interactions. She said his messages were pure fantasy and he would never have gone through with what he was proposing.