A man who was found to be in possession of more than 700 sexual images of children also attempted to sexually communicate with a child.

Conor Hibbert, 26, was found in possession of the depraved images on July 12, 2022.

Hibbert, of Blackburn Road, Oswaldtwistle, was found to have 214 of the most serious images, in category A.

He also had 235 category B and 274 category C images.

Hibbert, who lived in Lytham St Annes at the time of the offences, was said to have gone beyond the norm for someone charged with these offences, as he sought to engage in a conversation with someone he believed to be 14 years old.

Judge Richard Archer, sentencing, said the child told Hibbert their age but he “nevertheless continued to engage with them sexually”.

The judge added it was not possible for the Crown to determine whether the person was a real child or a decoy.

Anthony Parkinson, by way of mitigation, said his client felt “shame and guilt” at what he had done, though there had been an improvement in his drug and alcohol consumption.

Judge Archer said: “You know I must sentence you for possession of indecent images in all three categories.

"Some, including those most serious, are images of children who are very young indeed and must be obvious to anyone who views those that each one depicts real and actual child abuse and suffering.

“They exist because there is an appetite for them by people such as yourself who will download them from the internet.

“You are a relatively young man, you have not had the easiest of starts to adulthood, and in the two years since these offences you have acknowledged the need to work towards rehabilitating yourself.”

Hibbert pleaded guilty to three counts making indecent images and one count of attempting to engage in sexual communications with a child.

He was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years.

He must complete an accredited programme designed to reduce sexual offending and 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.