A paedophile has been jailed for eight years after travelling about 130 miles to Cambridgeshire with the intention of meeting a child for sex.
Michael Bickerton, 49, of Minshall Street in Stoke-on-Trent, came to police attention after using a website to chat to people, specifying on his profile that he liked ‘children from the age of eight years’.
After initially engaging in conversation over email, he swapped phone numbers with someone he had met on the site, and made plans to travel to St Neots with the intention of abusing a 10-year-old girl in August last year (2017).
At just gone midday on 26 August he arrived at the agreed place, however shortly after his arrival he was arrested and was found to have sex-related paraphernalia in his car.
The following day he was charged with arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.
Bickerton denied the allegation against him and faced trial in February, however a jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict after just two hours of deliberation.
Yesterday afternoon (Monday, 14 May), he appeared at Cambridge Crown Court and was sentenced to eight years in prison.
He was also made subject of an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) and placed on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.
While sentencing, Judge Sean Enright said that Bickerton had an entrenched sexual interest in children, which was reflected in his sentence.
Detective Sergeant Kath McCready said: “From the moment he was arrested Bickerton denied he had any intention of meeting a girl, that he believed the girl to be fictitious and was instead planning on meeting another man for sex.
“In his interview he stated that numerous messages where he had spoken about the meeting and other conversations about sexually abusing children were merely fantasy.
“We are dedicated to keeping young people safe and the sentence passed reflects how seriously this kind of offence is taken.”
For information and advice relating to this matter please visit www.cambs.police.uk/childprotection. To report concerns about a child contact police on 101 or dial 999 if they are in immediate danger.