A POLICE officer posing as a 13-year-old girl snared a Suffolk paedophile as he tried to groom the “child” in an internet chatroom.

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David Nicholson is now beginning his second four-year jail term for child-related sex offences. The 55-year-old was caught by police when he drove from Suffolk to Bolton after 21 days of grooming the “girl” with the intention of having sex with her.

Nicholson, of Chaplain’s Close, Haverhill, began an online conversation on August 2 with what he believed was a 13-year-old female in a chatroom on MSN.

However, in reality the person he was conversing with was an officer from Greater Manchester Police, involved in a covert operation to catch paedophiles. During his conversations Nicholson began talking about sexual activity, before eventually arranging to meet the “girl”, whom he knew as “Sam”.

He also sent pornographic videos to her and indecent pictures of himself. On August 22 Nicholson began the journey to Lancashire, stopping overnight on the way.

The following day he went to the arranged rendezvous point at Bolton Links Golf Club, where his van was stopped by officers and he was arrested.

In the rear of the white Fiat Ducato, police found a mattress for a double bed, along with a TV, DVD player, kettle, toaster, and fridge.

Nicholson originally claimed he did not have an interest in young girls. But Bolton Crown Court heard he had a previous conviction for grooming teenage girls over the internet. In November 2002 he was jailed at Reading Crown Court for four years for similar offences.

On those occasions he met up with females aged 13 and 15 with the intention of having sex. He was released from prison in 2004. However, he was kept on licence until 2010.

Nicholson pleaded guilty to his most recent offences at an earlier hearing before Bolton Crown Court.

On that occasion he admitted he attempted to meet a child under the age of 16 following grooming, causing a child under 16 to look at images of sexual activity and sending a grossly offensive message. In addition to four years’ imprisonment, Nicholson was put back on licence for a further six years after his sentence finishes, and must sign the sex offenders’ register.

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