A man told a police decoy account he thought was actually a 13-year-old girl that he was "a bit of a perv" after sending sexual messages.

Christopher Whitehead, 44, of Albert Street, Whitworth, spoke to what he thought was a 13-year-old girl, but was actually a decoy account set up to catch paedophiles.

Burnley Crown Court heard Whitehead sent pictures of himself and made comments such as "I am a bit of a perv" to the decoy over a two month period, on apps such as Google Hangout.

The prosecution told the court that between September 29 and October 20, 2019, Whitehead also gave the decoy instructions of a sexual nature.

In mitigation, Phil Holden told the court Whitehead was of previous good character, and that the case had taken a while to be dealt with by the courts.

He said: "He has kept out of trouble in the time this case has taken to reach court, moving address and moving on with his life significantly.

"He has a job as a fabricator and works an average of 40 hours a week, sometimes 60.

"Mr Whitehead has also stopped his cannabis usage and is extremely hard working and has been in employment since he left school."

Whitehead pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

Judge Daniel Prowse sentenced Whitehead to 24 months in custody, suspended for 18 months, and ordered him to take 25 rehabilitation days and 120 hours of unpaid work.

He said: "You told the decoy you were 40 years old, and asked her if she was a virgin.

"You wanted to discuss sexual matters like oral sex and if she would give it to you.

"You also offered to buy her items of clothing, a relevant factor in the form of grooming.

"You are of previous good character and pleaded guilty at the earliest stage. You did keep out of trouble for a significant time and are in a stable job and have stopped using cannabis.

"Although this is serious offending you have a real prospect for rehabilitation and the Probation Service are prepared to work with you."