A CHILD sex predator who had chats with what he believed were 13-year-old girls was caught by so-called 'paedophile hunters' in a successful sting.

Steven Brocklehurst communicated online with decoy children in Worcester, profiles created by a group called Soloceptors, but was spared an immediate jail sentence at Worcester Crown Court on Thursday.

The attempted sexual communications happened between December 18, 2018 and June 30, 2019 for one decoy child and between December 30, 2018 and June 30, 2019 for the other as part of a sting operation.

The 54-year-old of Alderley Road, Bromsgrove appeared before magistrates in Worcester in May where he did not enter pleas after evidence was gathered that he had sent intimate photos of himself to two people he believed to be children aged 13.

The charges were listed as 'attempts' because the alleged correspondence was said to involve a 'decoy vigilante group' rather than communication with actual children.

Using a wolf's head logo, the group describes itself as a non-profit organisation 'helping to stop child exploitation'.

Magistrates had earlier declined jurisdiction for the case. At Worcester Crown Court Brocklehurst appeared before Judge James Burbidge QC.

Brocklehurst was sentenced to 12 months in prison suspended for 18 months and made subject to a sexual harm prevention order. This order is designed to protect children, controlling Brocklehurst's use of the internet and prevents him having unsupervised contact with children.

He must sign the Sex Offender Register for 10 years and pay costs of £260.