A MAN who had a sexually-charged online conversations with what he thought was a 13-year-old boy was actually talking to an undercover police officer, a court heard.

Burnley Crown Court heard the police sting came to an end when Gary Lee Roberts, 42, arranged to meet the boy at a camping store in Blackburn with the intention of having sex at the teenager's mother's house.

But officers were waiting for Roberts, of Winterley Drive, Huncoat, and arrested him.

Prosecutor Peter Kenedy told the court how Roberts struck up an online conversation with a teenage boy, who he thought was called Tyler on January 12.

He said: "This was a case which involved a police officer purporting to be a young boy under the age of 13.

"The defendant said he was a 42-year-old gay male who lived in Accrington. There was discussions between them.

"The defendant was told by Tyler, and the defendant acknowledged, he was a 13-year-old boy. The defendant suggested meeting up. Following which there was a chat around where they lived. The subject then became sexual."

The court heard the chat then moved to Skype, with the defendant using the screen name Gary Roberts and the boy calling himself Tyler Foster, but it continued in its sexual tone.

Mr Kenedy said on January 12 Roberts messaged Tyler asking if he would like to meet up. He also asked Tyler if he wanted to be his boyfriend and if he had used condoms for sex.

On January 17, the court heard Roberts again asked Tyler if he wanted to meet up saying: "I like boys of your age. We could meet up together."

The court heard he also told Tyler 'he would like to try his mum's bed when she wasn't around'.

Mr Kennedy said the following day images were exchanged between Roberts and Tyler. He also asked Tyler if he had been with other men.

On January 20 Roberts asked Tyler if he needed any condoms and said he would get some, the court heard.

Then on January 31 Roberts asked the teenager about meeting up for sex and Tyler said he would have to check when his mother was away.

Responding to that Roberts said: "You know I am 42. Can go to prison if people find out."

Mr Kenedy told the court how arrangements were made for Roberts and Tyler to meet up on February 8 outside the Outdoor Action store in Blackburn but before that they talked about AIDS.

After being arrested the court heard Roberts told police in a prepared statement that he had been chatting to an underage boy discussed meeting up for sex with him.

Defending, Rachel Cooper said her client had learning difficulties and the case had many 'unusual features'.

She said: "Having been asked whether he will communicate with young people again my clients says he won't. He understands it's wrong and if he does he will go to prison."

Roberts pleaded guilty to attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

He was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for two years, made subject of a five year sexual harm prevention order and told to sign the Sex Offender's Register for 10 years.