A 66-year-old has been jailed after engaging in online sexual conversations with people he believed were schoolgirls. 

Ian Hollinghurst, 66, thought he was communicating with two 13-year-old girls when in fact they were adult decoys.

The online conversations were sexualised despite Hollinghurst thinking he was communicating with young girls.

It was when he arranged to meet up with one of them that he was arrested.

After Hollinghurst’s arrest, extreme pornographic images were found on his phone.

Hollinghurst, of Eldon Street, Preston, appeared before a judge at Preston Crown Court for a sentencing hearing.

He had pleaded guilty to nine offences - attempting to engage in a sexual communication with a child, two charges of attempting to incite a child to engage in a sexual activity, attempting to engage in a sexual communication with a child for sexual gratification, arranging to meet a child for a sexual activity following a grooming online, making indecent photographs of a child, two offences of distributing an indecent photograph of a child and possession of extreme pornography.

Hollinghurst was jailed for five years and six months and made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 15 years.

Det Con Sam Patel, said: “Hollinghurst had the intention to groom and commit sexual offences against children.

“He elected trial, and it was only on the second day of his trial that he decided to plead guilty.

“We take offences of this nature extremely seriously so that children are protected from people who want to harm them.

“Hopefully the lengthy sentence handed to Hollinghurst will deter others from committing similar offences.”