A 60-YEAR-old man engaged in sexual, on-line chats with what he believed was a 13-year-old girl called Beth.

Blackburn magistrates heard the "girl" was in fact a police officer working as part of an operation to combat on-line child abuse.

Peter Sutcliffe, of Woodlands Park, Whalley, pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child. He was remanded on bail until December 2 for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

Adam Bonny, prosecuting, said Beth was the code name for a police officer working on Operation Stronghold.

"The officer was in a chatroom that the defendant joined and over the next few days there was sexual communication from him to her," said Mr Bonny. "He believed the person he was communicating with was 13 years old."

Mr Bonny said when the matter is sentenced the prosecution will apply for a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Ian Anderson, defending, said his client had been married for 32 years worked for the same company for 27 years and had no previous convictions.

"He accepts the contact became inappropriate and sexual," said Mr Anderson. "Unlike most similar cases he was not deceptive. He didn't pretend to be of a similar age and he didn't ask for indecent pictures of the girl. When she asked if they could meet he said no."

Mr Anderson said numerous devices were seized by the police and interrogated.

"Not one indecent image was found and there was no evidence of any other chats with anyone else," said Mr Anderson.

He said Sutcliffe had voluntarily contacted Stop It Now which helps people accused of similar offences to tackle their behaviour.