A MARRIED dad engaged in sexual chat with what he believed to be a 12-year-old schoolgirl but in reality was talking to undercover police officers.

Father-of-three Ryan Smith sent 'Cloe' naked photos and a video of him performing a sex act on himself and asked her to send him nude pictures.

However, the internet chat was in reality taking place with police officers involved in an 'undercover operation' who had set up a false online profile.

The 47-year-old Worcestershire dad, who has since separated from his wife, appeared at Worcester Crown Court on Thursday after previously pleading guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and attempting to cause a child under 13 to watch a sexual act.

Thomas Kenning, prosecuting, said the profile, set up by Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Organised Crime Unit, was in the name of Cloe, aged 12 on Kik Messenger.

Communication between the defendant and the 'girl' took place between November 7 and November 29 last year, beginning with 'hello' and 'hiya' but escalating towards sexual communication.

Smith said he was an sales engineer selling 'robots' and there was 'sexual innuendo' which Mr Kenning described as 'grooming type words'.

'Cloe' told Smith in one message she was in a maths lesson. He told her he was 38. Officers replied, telling him she was 12 'coming up 13' to which he replied that the age difference was 'only numbers'.

"He used expressions like 'naughty girl and bad girl'. He said on November 15 'you make me a little horny'" said Mr Kenning.

On November 18 he sent a further message saying he was 'horny' and 'had to have a play'. Smith said he was into 'younger' girls, saying: "Shhhh! Don't tell your mum."

Smith also asked about her clothing, sending her a picture of an adult in revealing 'sexual' lingerie.

On November 19 he asked Cloe to 'send me one' and the following day sent her a photo of his naked torso showing a tattoo as he suggested she sent him pictures of herself in her underwear.

On November 21 he took a picture of himself lying naked on his bed, telling the 'girl' he was 'a bit horny'. In one message he wrote: "You should see what's in my hand right now."

Smith asked her to send him 'a rude one' and on November 23 send a full screen picture of his penis.

On November 27 he said he was 'bored' and 'horny', sending her a six second clip of him performing a sex act on himself, telling the 'girl': "Shhh! Delete it."

Smith also asked what the girl would 'dare' show him, inviting her to show him her breasts.

He was arrested on December 4 last year and interviewed, 'making full and frank admissions'. He told police he was 'lonely and didn't have many friends'. Smith, a man of hitherto good character, also said he was ashamed.

Neil Davis, for Smith, said he had wanted to plead guilty at the magistrates court but the duty solicitor had indicated 'no plea'. Judge Jim Tindal said he was prepared to give Smith 'full credit' for his plea.

Mr Davis said his client was 'clearly a man who has some difficulties' after his father died in 2018 and started using chatrooms.

"As a result of his arrest and interview by the police, not only did he make full and frank admissions to them, he made full and frank admissions to his wife. You will have read in the report they are now separated" said Mr Davis.

Smith is a senior member of Sex Addicts Anonymous which he goes to every week said his advocate.

Judge Jim Tindal said: "The fact you happened to be talking to undercover police officers whose job it was to catch men like you is not really the point. You could so easily have been talking to a real 12 year old girl." He sentenced Smith of Redditch to 12 months in prison suspended for two years and ordered him to complete 40 rehabilitation activity requirement days. He must sign the Sex Offender Register for five years and was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order which prevents him having unsupervised contact with any children under 16 without permission of the parent, guardian and social services and full knowledge of his convictions.