A DEESIDE man who was caught engaging in sex chat with a 13-year-old police decoy has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

David Knight, 47, was apprehended by a police officer posing as the child in an online chat room called Lycos, North East Wales Magistrates’ Court heard.

He asked about her breasts and dress size and while the sexualised chat was confined to just the one occasion, Magistrates Chairman Deborah McKinnel said the custody threshold had been passed because of the age disparity as well the discovery of an image on the defendant’s phone.

Prosecutor Justin Espie said the image suggested Knight had a sexual interest in children, although he only faced a charge of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

“You are 47 and the girl you were communicating with was 13,” said the magistrates’ chairman. “You absolutely knew she was 13.”

The court was told that Knight had already signed up for a sex offenders’ course and coupled with his early guilty plea the magistrates stepped back from imposing a custodial sentence, suspending the 20-week term for 18 months.

Knight was said to have struck up a conversation in which he asked the 13-year-old about her breasts and whether she was single. He later commented to the police officer posing as the teenager, “I don’t like big boobs”.

Peter Barnett, defending, said that Knight was “ashamed” at what he had done and that his relationship with his partner had broken up after the offence came to light.

Knight, of Tecwyn Drive, Connah’s Quay pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a person under 16 on November 19 last year.

He was made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for seven years and told to complete 50 rehabilitation activity days.

He also has to remain on the sex offenders list for seven years and pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £115.

A deprivation order was made to confiscate his phone and computer.