A MAN has been jailed after sending indecent images to an undercover police officer he thought was the parent of a 10 year-old girl.

Mark Anthony Sofianos, 51, of Edwards Field, Newtown, had pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images, and a charge of encouraging the distribution of indecent images.

Appearing from custody at Mold Crown Court, he was sentenced to serve 21 months in prison by Recorder John Philpotts.

Simon Rogers, prosecuting at Mold Crown Court, said Sofianos' offending came to light in October last year when he began messaging an undercover police officer who was posing as the parent of a 10 year-old girl, believing that the undercover officer was sexually active with the child.

They exchanged messages and Sofianos sent the undercover officer indecent images on the understanding that he would receive some in return.

Officers then executed a warrant at Sofianos's home where a laptop, memory stick and mobile phone were seized.

A total of 518 indecent images were found, 86 of the most serious Category A, 52 Category B and 380 in Category C.

Sofianos denied knowledge of the indecent images and said he was having trouble with an app on his phone in Russian which could have been responsible for the images.

He denied he had seen the images and said he had not engaged in communication with the undercover officer.

A pre-sentence report and psychiatric report were read by the judge, Mr Recorder John Philpotts.

Brian Treadwell, defending, said since his arrest Sofianos had been detained under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act, had thought about ending his own life, and was aware of the "shame he has brought upon himself and his family".

He said: "This is a man with defective thinking patterns. He is stepping along the pathway to remedying those thinking patterns."

Sentencing Sofianos, the Recorder Mr Philpotts said: "In October last year you began to exchange messages with someone you thought was a father who was sexually active with his 10 year-old daughter, someone you thought had a sexual deviance similar to your own.

"I hope you realise just how disgusting most members of society would find that behaviour.

"Thankfully this was brought to an end when officer executed a warrant at your home and your devices were seized.

"These images were as bad as it gets, very serious images."

For encouraging the distribution of indecent images and possessing Category A indecent images Sofianos was jailed for 18 months, with a further three months to be served consecutively.

He was also given concurrent prison sentences of four months and two months for the other possession of indecent images offences.

Sofianos will also be on the Sex Offender's Register for 10 years.