A REGISTERED sex offender has been jailed for trying to have sex with a 12-year-old girl.

Thomas Davidson, 38, of Cleaver Road, South Ham was sentenced to 13 months imprisonment at Winchester Crown Court on Friday after admitting engaging in sexual conversation with a child.

He had been using a smartphone app to seek out young girls to communicate with for his own sexual gratification.

He was arrested on June 22, 2017 after an unannounced visit from police who believed he was talking to someone about sexual acts with a minor.

The court heard Davidson had initially told officers he had lost his phone, but had in fact hidden it in a towel.

When searching the phone, officers found a conversation on the app with a 12-year-old girl from Australia.

Prosecuting, Matthew Lawson said: “He had initially told the victim that he was also 12 years old but it soon became clear that he was older than her. He had said that he wanted to snuggle with her, to which she replied that she only cuddled soft toys.

“One message said ‘I want to get to know you so I can be your first’ saying that he wanted to take her virginity.”

The court heard that Davidson knew it was wrong but the temptation for his own sexual gratification had been too great.

Davidson had previously been jailed for a year in 2011 for possessing indecent images.

Defending Davidson, Lucy Conroy said he had been doing everything he could to rid himself of temptations. She said: “He has sold his Xbox, he now just has a regular phone and got rid of his smart phone and his mother monitors his internet use.”

Recorder Jason Taylor said: “I find it worrying how quick you were to seek out and have communication with children. And based on the police report there were between 10 and 20 different conversations on your phone.”

He also made Davidson the subject of a ten-year sexual harm prevention order.