A PAEDOPHILE was caught trying to persuade a 12-year-old girl to send him sexual pictures of herself just weeks after he was given a community sentence for possessing indecent images of children.

But the child Ian Bellew thought he was communicating with through Kik Messenger and Whatsapp was really an undercover police officer posing as a girl called Izzy.

Bolton Crown Court heard how he repeatedly asked her for sexual images of herself and on one occasion, sent her a photograph of his private parts.

When police raided his address in Burnham Avenue, Heaton, they discovered that he had also distributed indecent images of children via chat rooms and MEGA cloud storage.

In March last year Bellew had been sentenced for having indecent pictures and videos of children on his mobile phone.

Gerald Baxter, defending stressed that Bellew was about to start a sex offender's treatment programme when he was arrested again on November 18 last year.

"He now realises that this problem is not going to be cured unless he has some help," said Mr Baxter.

"He is ruining his own life. His family will not have anything to do with him.

"He is very sorry and very ashamed and he wants to stop."

Bellew, aged 27, pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual activity with a child, attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, attempting to incite a child to watch sexual activity, possessing cocaine and indecent images of children and breaching a sexual harm prevention order.

He was jailed for five years with Judge Graeme Smith telling him that he had instigated sexual conversations with "Izzy".

"It is quite clear that you were asking for seriously indecent images," the judge said.

"This was serious offending entirely undeterred by a very recent sentence of this court.

"Therefore it comes as no surprise to me that the probation service now assess you as being a high risk of offending and causing serious harm to an actual child."