A 50-year-old man has appeared in court after he was caught posing as a young boy and sending 'repulsive' messages to young girls via Facebook.
Plymouth Crown Court heard that Trevor Ellis left one of the 14-year-old schoolgirls feeling 'scared' and 'weird' after she discovered the true identity of the 'friend' she had made on the social networking site.
Judge Paul Darlow said that the age difference between Trevor Ellis and the girls he sent messages to made the nature of them 'repulsive'.
Ellis admitted two charges of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity in 2011.
Alistair Verheijen, for the CPS, told the hearing that one of the schoolgirls began receiving Facebook messages from a boy who initially claimed to be 17, but then said he was 12.
The 'boy' also claimed to be using his real name on the site, but later said he was someone else. He asked one of the girls to describe her underwear, and if she would perform a sexual act for money. He also told her he wanted to have sex with her mother.
Mr Verheijen read part of a statement from one of the girls to the court. In it, she said she was 'disgusted' to have found out her friend was 'about 50' and said his actions had made her stop using Facebook, and had left her unable to sleep.
Mr Verheijen said the second child was 14 when she accepted a friend request from Ellis, who went on to offer her money for sex, and asked for descriptions of her underwear.
Ellis's lawyer, Jo Martin, said he was of previous good character until the offences, which dated back two and a half years.
"It is clear that he had no intention to go to the town where the girls lived and he had no capacity to do so. He has no money to do so," she told the court, adding that jobless Ellis 'accepted he would benefit from specialist treatment'.
The Plymouth Herald reports that judge Darlow accepted that Ellis did not intend to meet the girls - who lived in the north of England.
He sentenced him to a three-year community order, with £300 costs and treatment via a sex offenders programme. He will also be subjected to a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
Suggested For You
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more