A Penryn man has avoided jail after he tried to lure an underage boy into sexual talk – only for it to be an undercover police officer in a sting operation.

Richard Williams, of Tresooth Place, Penryn admitted a series of charges when he appeared before magistrates in Truro at the end of September. All the offences took place in Redruth.

Now he has appeared before Truro Crown Court for sentencing, where he was given a three-year community order. As part of this he must carry out 20 days of rehabilitation activities, as well as 15 hours of unpaid work.

Williams was also placed on the sex offenders register for five years, and will be under a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.

The 44-year-old was caught after he tried to communicate with a person under 16, for sexual gratification.

He believed he was talking to a 13-year-old boy, but in fact it was an undercover police officer who conducted a sting between February 28, 2019 and April 8, 2019.

As a result, police seized his electronic devices, which led to a number of other charges.

Williams pleaded guilty to distributing an indecent photograph of a child, between July 1, 2013 and August 1, 2013. This was in category C, the least explicit of the three tiers of images. They are images classed as containing 'erotic posing'.

He also admitted three counts of having in possession on March 19, 2019 indecent photographs of children that were in categories C, B and A, the highest level of explicitness, involving full sexual activity.

And in a similar charge, he pleaded guilty to have 43 prohibited images of children in his possession on September 19, 2019.

Finally, he pleaded guilty to engaging in a sexual activity in a place where he could be observed by a child under 16, knowing or intending that child would be watching, on November 14, 2015, and also to inciting a girl aged between 13 and 16 to take part in a non-contact sexual activity on December 11, 2015.