A 60-YEAR-old man who engaged in sexual, on-line chats with what he believed was a 13-year-old girl has avoided a jail sentence.

Peter Sutcliffe, of Woodlands Park, Whalley, pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child at an earlier hearing in November at Blackburn magistrates, where the court heard the "girl", called "Beth", was in fact a police officer working as part of an operation to combat on-line child abuse.

Sutcliffe was remanded on bail until his sentencing on December 2, when he appeared at Preston Magistrates Court.

The court heard that between November 9 2020 and November 18 2020, Sutcliffe had intentionally attempted to communicate with Beth, aged 13 (who was in fact an adult), by talking to her about observing a penis and touching her genitals.

Sutcliffe was given a community order in which he must complete 40 days rehabilitation activity as well as 100 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months.

He was also required to sign the sex offenders register for the next five years and was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for five years.

In addition he has to pay fines and court costs of £180.