A 'BORED' sex offender with a mental age of 12 pestered 'decoy' children for naked photos, asked to meet a girl for sex and kicked a police officer.

Alex Whiston was living at supported accommodation in Lansdowne Road, Worcester, when he attempted to make contact with two girls under 13 using Facebook.

In reality, however, he was not talking to real children aged 12, as he believed, but to 'decoys' set up by volunteers to catch sexual predators.

The 22-year-old admitted three counts of attempting to engage in sexual activity with a child under 13 and one of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child under 16 when he appeared over videolink accompanied by a doctor at Worcester Crown Court on Wednesday. Were it not for the defendant's mental health and developmental issues, he would have been facing a prison sentence of between three and nine years (and a starting point of six years), the court heard.

Whiston further admitted assaulting an emergency worker, a female police officer, who was attempting to return him to his supported accommodation in Worcester on December 20 last year.

He admitted talking to the two decoys when interviewed by police last September. Giles Nelson, prosecuting, said the case had been delayed because the defence had been exploring Whitson's fitness to plead.

Mr Nelson said in relation to the first of the decoy girls 'the defendant made repeated requests that the decoy send him nude photographs' and told her he loved her.

On September 9 he sent the decoy a sexually explicit photograph of himself and asked her to send him a video of herself performing a sexual act upon herself.

The requests for photos continued until September 24 last year.

Whiston also communicated with a second decoy, the volunteer purporting to be a girl of 12. He made contact on September 8 last year, asking her in crude terms to have sex with him in Evesham, continuing the chat until September 28 last year.

Whiston was arrested the following day (September 29).

"He explained he had done it because he was bored" said Mr Nelson.

Whiston was bailed with conditions but failed to return to his supported accommodation and was eventually found by police in Worcester city centre and taken to his address in Lansdowne Road on December 20 last year.

"At that location he refused to get out of the back of the van. He kicked out at a police constable's leg on two occasions, causing instant pain" said Mr Nelson.

He said when Whiston was bailed he breached his bail conditions until he was arrested again on April 22 this year. The defendant was remanded in custody for just under a month until he was bailed again on May 20 this year.

Michael Anning, defending, said his client had developmental issues, was educated at a special school and had been in supported accommodation since leaving that establishment.

The decoys, he said, were set up by a group called Innocent Voices. He told the court it was unlikely they knew they were communicating with someone who 'had the mental capacity of a 12-year-old'.

He said his client had barely functioning literacy and no independence with regard to daily living. Whiston has been identified as a 'high risk to young females' by the probation service.

Judge James Burbidge QC made a section 37 hospital order which is where those who commit crimes are sent to hospital rather than prison.

He said the defendant had 'a number of difficulties' related to developmental issues including an extremely low IQ. The judge said if he had been sentencing a person of ordinary intellect and ordinary understanding, the sentence would have been one of immediate imprisonment of 'some length'.

He said: "In effect the volunteers who created the decoys lured, if that's the right word, a 12-year-old, all be it in the adult body of a 22-year-old."

A 10 year sexual harm prevention order was made restricting Whiston's use of the internet which will be monitored by police. Any device he uses must retain the search history and be made available to officers on request for inspection.