A FORMER takeaway boss who sent naked pictures and videos of himself to a ‘13-year-old girl’ has been jailed.

But Burnley Crown Court heard that 39-year-old Matthew Stuart Harper was actually messaging an undercover police officer who was posing as the teenager and using the name Emma.

Prosecuting, Andrew Brown said in March and April Harper sent Emma a number of sexually charged messages, photographs and videos and also asked her to do the same.

At the end of each day Harper would tell Emma to delete any record of their communication ‘so he didn’t get in trouble’.

Mr Brown said: “Communication between the defendant and the officer started on March 14 when messages were sent in a Kik application to Emma. The user had a profile image of a man wearing an unzipped navy blue onesie, baring his naked chest and the top of his boxer shorts.

“In the initial chat Emma told the defendant she was 13. He indicated he was 32. There was a sexual aspect to the conversation from the word go, the defendant saying it was a good job she hadn’t seen some pictures he had sent on Kik. He said he shouldn’t be chatting on camera with someone of her age.”

Harper, of Clayton Way, Clayton-le-Moors, then asked Emma for a picture and sent her a naked photograph of himself.

The conversation later moved to Skype and Harper told Emma he couldn’t send her a picture of himself because he had ‘just got out of the shower’ and was ‘feeling naughty’. But he did send her a sexually explicit selfie of himself which he told her to delete once she had viewed it. He then sent her a sexually explicit four second video of himself which he also told her to delete.

In a later chat he instructed Emma to perform sex acts upon herself.

On March 22 Harper sent Emma more explicit messages before telling her he was single but ‘clearly too old for her’.

Mr Brown said: “He said that he would never meet her. She wasn’t ready for anything sexual if they did meet. He told her she needed to practise more. He said it would be good if they could watch each other next time.”

Harper then asked Emma for a picture and re-sent the photographs he had done previously.

Harper later asked Emma if he could ‘go to her house and play’, saying he would get into so much trouble but it would be worth it.

Harper continued sending sexually explicit and suggestive messages and was arrested on April 5. He refused to answer any questions during his police interview.

Harper, who had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act, and attempting to engage in sexual activity in the presence of a child.

Defending, Alexander Rostron said his client had suffered a number of bereavements and was suffering with depression.

Mr Rostron said: “This is a man of 39 who finds himself before the courts for serious offences. He is thoroughly ashamed of his behaviour. He accepts he did it for his own sexual gratification. For that he is truly remorseful. He has brought shame on himself and members of his family.”

Judge Nicholas Barker jailed Harper for 18 months, made him subject of a three year sexual harm prevention order and ordered him to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.

Judge Barker said: “The child in your mind was 13.”