AN internet pervert claimed he was a League One footballer in a bid to chat up a 14-year-old, a court heard.

Mark Andrew Hampson, 44, told the youngster he earned £2,000 a week as he repeatedly asked her what colour her underwear was, the court was told.

But when Hampson travelled to Bolton to meet up with the under-age teen, who he knew only by her Facebook profile name of Mia, he was arrested by Greater Manchester Police.

Prosecutor Rachael Woods said officers had established a fake social media profile, with details explicitly making clear the 'girl' associated with the page was aged 14.

Hampson sent 'Mia' a friend request in November 2019 and was soon messaging the 'girl', she told the court.

One of the first questions he asked was what colour her underwear was. She did not reply but told him she was aged 14. He asked if he could see her legs.

Miss Woods said: "He said he was a football player for Doncaster, earning around £2,000 a week from playing."

Hampson sent a photo of himself and requested a picture of the girl's legs, the court heard, but she declined.

The court was told he then sent her two indecent photos, made obscene suggestions and urged her to behave indecently.

Another online conversation, a couple of days later, when 'Mia' was said to have just returned home from school.

Miss Woods said Hampson told her he was naked before sending her more indecent photos.

Hampson later sent 'Mia' pictures of other people having sex, the court heard. This was followed by similar messages on November 30.

One final conversation took place between Hampson and 'Mia', following which arrangements were made for him to meet her in Bolton, where was arrested and charged with child grooming offences.

Appearing for sentence, the court heard Hampson, now 45, of Balby Road, Doncaster, was currently the subject of a suspended sentence for an unspecified but unrelated offence. A sexual harm prevention order was sought.

Mark Friend, defending, said it was accepted the online conversations did not portay his client in "an appealing light".

But Mr Friend told the court the defendant, who had been drinkng heavily around the time of the incidents, had not offended since November 2019.

The court heard Hampson had been serving soldier in Bosnia and insisted he had never received any counselling for the "traumatic and horrific" experiences he encountered there.

Judge Graeme Smith bailed Hampson until December 17 so he could consider whether the absence of an actual live victim in the case would have a bearing on sentence.