A MAN thought he was sending indecent pictures and a video of himself performing a sex act to a 13-year-old girl.

Bolton Crown Court heard how Michael Walsh, of Crawford Avenue, Tyldesley sent the sexually explicit video via instant mobile messaging app Kik Messenger on October 8 last year.

At that point, the 28-year-old believed the receiver of his messages was a 13-year-old girl - but it was actually an undercover police officer.

Prosecuting, Jonathan Savage said Walsh sent a message on the app that he was looking for "friendship and a bit of fun".

After personal details were exchanged, Walsh's messages became more sexualised and he started sending indecent pictures followed by the video.

He also described his sexual feelings towards "her" and said that "she could trust him".

Walsh asked the "girl" to delete pictures and videos that he sent to "her" and not to tell "her parents".

Police arrested him at his home on December 19. In custody, Walsh admitted sending the messages and that "he had never done this before".

He maintained that he is not sexually attracted to children, never intended to meet the "girl" and could not explain his actions.

Mr Savage said "there are elements of grooming behaviour" in the nature of the case.

Mitigating, Geoffrey Lowe noted that unlike other defendants in this type of crime, Walsh "has gone a long way down the road" in understanding his actions.

He added that Walsh, who has no previous convictions, is in "jeopardy of losing his liberty".

Addressing Walsh in sentencing, Judge Timothy Stead told him he had read reports that he was "a man who has a degree of social isolation and social difficulty".

Judge Stead said: "You did what you did completely ignoring the interests of any 13-year-old girl."

Walsh was given a three-year community order and must carry out a sexual offender programme and a 25-day rehabilitation course.

He has been forced to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for five years as well.

The defendant was also told to do 100 hours of unpaid work and pay a victim services surcharge fee of £85.

He was sentenced at Bolton Crown Court on Wednesday.