A PAEDOPHILE who was caught after he told police he was being blackmailed over the internet has avoided jail.

Phillip Dawson of Springfield Road, Wantage, admitted one count of attempted sexual activity with a child under 16 on March 26, 2009.

He also confessed to one count of causing or inciting a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity on June 28, 2011. In addition, the 39-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of possessing indecent images of children and two counts of making indecent images of children.

Yesterday, he was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court and received a three-year community order with a sex offenders’ rehabilitation programme requirement.

Timothy Boswell, prosecuting, said the crimes came to light after Dawson visited a police station with his mother. He said: “He effectively said he was being blackmailed by persons unknown over the internet.

“It was related to some images that he said had come into his computer without his consent.

“He said he was worried he was going to be stitched up and told them he was between a rock and a hard place.”

Mr Boswell said the decision was taken to arrest Dawson and when officers examined his computer, they found around 1,400 indecent images.

Chat logs showed Dawson had contacted a girl and a boy and invited them to engage in sexual activity, he added.

Judge Ian Pringle told Dawson: “I would be quite justified in passing a sentence of immediate imprisonment, but we have got to look at the whole picture.

“You do have insight into the appalling abuse of children that behaviour such as yours brings about.”