A COURT has heard how a man asked for photos from a 13-year-old girl online not realising that she was actually an undercover police decoy.

Prosecutor Emily Thorbjornsen told Bradford Crown Court that Christopher Pennie was arrested after contacting the girl, named “Sam” in an online chatroom on February 23, 2021, whilst using the name “Playing in bed”.

He asked her age, told her he was 45, requested photographs of her in underwear, repeatedly asked what she looked like, and requested a “hot photograph” of her.

“Sam” said she would send a picture via Snapchat.

Pennie, who at the time was living at Dale Crescent, Carleton, Skipton, told her that he would not report her for sending a photograph despite knowing she was only 13.

When “Sam” told Pennie that she was going for a bath but would still like to talk to him he replied that he would like that too. Shortly after he blocked her on Snapchat.

When he was arrested a month later Pennie denied having any contact with any girls under 16 and answered “no comment” to questions thereafter.

He later pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

Mitigating, Paul Canfield said there was a lack of admission from Pennie in pre-sentence reports, and that some people “struggled to admit” their interest in children.

Mr Recorder Anthony Hawks said: “Three years ago you were online and you were communicating in a highly sexualised way with somebody you believed to be a 13-year-old girl.

“It’s a serious matter and I have to ensure that it doesn’t happen again because if it does you’re going to go to prison.”

Pennie, 48, and now of Canal Road, Riddlesden, Keighley, was given a two-year community order, made the subject of a five-year sexual harm prevention order to regulate his use of the internet, and told to sign the sex offender’s register for five years.

He was ordered to go on an accredited sex offenders’ programme for 43 days with a six-month alcohol treatment requirement plus a further 55 rehabilitation activity requirement days if required by the probation service.

Recorder Hawks ordered the forfeiture and destruction of any device used in the exchange.