A former soldier who begged schoolgirls to e-mail him naked pictures and filmed himself performing sex acts on a webcam was jailed for four years today.

Steven Allott, 52, of Nursery Road, Horton Bank Top, Bradford, was snared in a honey trap operation when a police officer posed as a 13-year-old on a social networking site.

Within days of chatting to the ‘girl’ the grandfather asked her to touch herself and pleading with her to send him nude snaps.

Southwark Crown Court heard Allott told the undercover officer, whose online name was Jessie, he was naked and asked what colour her knickers were.

The former infantry light soldier later arranged to meet the girl in a park and asked her to wear a thong.

Allott was arrested after travelling down to London in order to meet the girl.

When police seized his computer they found pictures of two 15-year-old girls “in various stages of nudity” as well as a further 1,498 indecent images of children as young as 18 months.

Allott admitted 19 offences, including charges of making, possessing and distributing indecent images, attempting to cause a child to watch sexual activity, attempting to engage a child in sexual activity and attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

Passing sentence Judge Anthony Pitts said: “These are serious specified offences.

"There are a considerable number of charges covering a wide range of activities in relation to indecent photographs and activity with young children and a young child you thought was a 13-year-old girl called Jessie.

“It is as a result of your contact with Jessie on September 14, 2008 and e-mail contact you gave to Jessie, who was clearly describing herself as a 13-year-old girl, that the charges were brought against you.”

Allott was put on the sex offenders’ register for life and was made subject to a sexual offences prevention order banning from seeing his two grandchildren without supervision.

Prosecutor Usha Shergill told the court that Allott had initiated contact with Jessie via MSN.

“He told her he was a 50-year-old male from Bradford and he was immediately made aware by Jessie that she had been at school all day and was 13,” the prosecutor said.

"Mr Allott on this occasion paid Jessie a number of compliments but nothing further."

Just three days later Allott tells Jessie he is home alone and naked, it was said.

“He tells her that he is naked and home alone, stating that it is a shame that she too is not naked,” the prosecutor added.

The paedophile then began sending the undercover officer images of naked children, some as young as eight, the court was told.

The same day, Allott stripped off and performed a sex act on himself over the web camera.

The following month, the former light infantry soldier tried to arrange to come down to London to meet ‘Jessie’ in the park. Allot showed no emotion as he was led away from the dock to start his jail term.