A BARNSLEY man who thought he was messaging a teenage girl – but instead was speaking to an undercover police officer – has avoided jail time.

Alan Jones, 37, of St John’s Avenue in Higham, began speaking with the undercover officer – who he believed to be a 13-year-old girl called Jessica – on April 25, 2022.

He sent messages saying he was masturbating and even asked the ‘girl’ to send pictures of herself.

Jones was subsequently arrested but attempted to make an escape and dispose of his mobile phone.

At Sheffield Crown Court on Wednesday, April 17, Jones was handed a two-year community order and was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for five years.