A 'DEPLORABLE' paedophile sent inappropriate images on social media to what they thought were three girls as young as 12 years old.

Richard Fenton, now Rachel Fenton, also tried to incite the three girls into sexual activity, and to send inappropriate images of their own.

What Fenton did not know was all three accounts were run either by paedophile hunters, or by the police themselves.

The 45-year-old was sentenced for a total of 22 offences, all but one of them child sex offences, at Manchester Crown Court on Monday (May 9).

Before sentence, the court heard how Fenton, of Bideford Drive in Baguley, was arrested in November 2020 after contact with two accounts they thought to be 12-year-old girls – one run by paedophile hunters, one run by the police.

They tried to exchange inappropriate images with the accounts and to incite them into sexual activity, even after their ages were revealed.

Fenton was released on bail with conditions and ignored these conditions to contact another account they thought to be a teenage girl but which was also run by the police.

They were arrested again in January of last year, when officers also found a number of images of children and child abuse on their devices.

After admitting a total of 22 offences, all of them child sex offences apart from one single count of possession of class A drugs, Fenton was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

They were also handed a sexual harm prevention order and placed on the sex offenders register for life.

Detective Constable Ceri Martin, of GMP's Sexual Crime Unit, said: "Fenton is a paedophile who knowingly attempted to exploit children for his own sexual gratification.

"This behaviour is deplorable and completely unacceptable. 

"The safety of our children is a top priority in Greater Manchester and I hope today's sentencing spreads the message to anyone thinking of engaging in this type of behaviour that it will not be tolerated.

"GMP will do their absolute utmost to thoroughly investigate all reports of this type of crime and bring the perpetrators to justice."