A MAN who was snared by 'paedophile hunters' after grooming two decoy children in an online sting operation has been jailed.

Matthew Tatton went so far as to try and arrange a hotel room for one of the fictional children.

When asked by that decoy child if having sex at her age was wrong, Tatton told her as long as she didn't tell anybody it would be fine.

The 31-year-old of Allnatt Avenue, Wallingford, had already admitted to two counts involving attempted sexual contact with two young children.

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He pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to incite a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and one of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

He was sentenced for those crimes at Oxford Crown Court yesterday.

Outlining the case Jonathan Stone, prosecuting, said the offences involved a sting by so-called 'paedophile hunters' who purported online to be two young girls aged 10 and 11.

He said the case involved 'grooming behaviour' and the offences took place in January and February 2018.

During the illicit communications - which took place via web applications Oasis and Kik - a hotel room was 'mooted' and sexual images were shared, including Tatton sending a picture of his penis.

Detailing some of the online exchanges prosecutors said that Tatton told the girl - who he thought was 11 - they would 'have a coffee in the hotel room, get to know one another and then have sex, full sexual intercourse.'

Mr Stone added: "He says he will be gentle with her given her age.

"She goes on to say is it normal to have sex at 11 and he says no, he admits it's not, but if you don't tell anyone it will be fine."

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Concerned, the hunters group who had snared Tatton then took it upon themselves to go to his Wallingford home and confront him, where he went on to admit talking to the fictional children.

In mitigation at his sentencing hearing Martin Khoshdel, defending, said that, regarding the hotel room, his client cancelled any arrangements after he 'came to his senses.'

He added that Tatton was sorry for what he had done and said: "He is somebody who is very remorseful."

Sentencing, Judge Michael Gledhill QC said: "You arranged to meet her, you told her what would happen when you were in a hotel room.

"She said that she was scared because it might hurt and asked you if it was normal to have sex with a child.

"You said it was not but it would be fine if you didn't tell anybody about it.

"Your intention was clear [although] it would never have happened because she didn't exist."

Tatton was jailed for a total of 40 months and must pay a statutory victim surcharge.

He was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention order and must sign the sex offenders register.