Chat room sex offender Christopher Brand jailed

Image caption Brand told officers he went to Salford to confirm the girl was really a woman

A sex offender who was caught when an undercover police officer pretended to be a 13-year-old girl in an online chat room has been jailed for 21 months.

A Greater Manchester Police (GMP) operation to target internet groomers led to the arrest of Christopher Brand, 49, of Kyles Way, Birmingham.

He admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.

Brand was caught when he travelled to Salford to see the "girl" in June 2010.

'Not unusual'

The court was told a GMP officer pretended to be a girl called Hannah in online conversations with Brand held through the MSN chat forum.

Police said the conversations became increasingly sexual over the course of several chat sessions.

Despite being told Hannah was only 13, police said he arranged to meet her in person on 10 June 2010 in Salford, where officers were waiting to arrest him.

Speaking after the sentencing, Det Sgt Bob Willis said: "When Brand was arrested he claimed he realised Hannah was not a teenage girl and only travelled to Salford to confirm this.

"Thankfully, on this occasion, the young girl was a specially trained police officer, but unfortunately Brand's behaviour is not unusual.

"I hope this case may act as a deterrent for anyone using the internet as a tool for grooming young children, but I also want to remind parents and children that they need to take steps to stay safe online."

Brand was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for 10 years.

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