A COURIER caught out in a 'paedophile hunter' sting has been spared a prison sentence.

Brian Daley, from Penketh, sent a series of lewd messages to what he believed were 14 and 15-year-olds girls - but were in fact decoy accounts set up by self-styled paedophile hunters.

However, on Thursday, March 8, he was spared jail and was instead ordered to carry out unpaid work.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that - over the course of a week in January and February this year - the 39-year-old exchanged a number of texts with members of the Justice Will Be Served group, who were posing as underage girls.

In a 'chain of progressively more suggestive messages', he asked whether the girls were virgins and suggested that they meet up at Warrington Bus Interchange.

Daley, of Clifford Road, told one of the girls he wanted to 'get naked' with her and 'explore that body from top to bottom'.

A previous hearing at Warrington Magistrates Court last month heard further details of messages sent by Daley, in which he said he was 'sexually aroused thinking about her'.

Other vile messages sent by Daley said ‘all I’ve got on my mind is you in your knickers and bra’, ‘age is just a number’ and ‘who abides by the law these days?’.

At around 10.30pm on Tuesday, February 6, he was confronted at the home where he lived with his fiancee and mother-in-law by members of the group.

The sting was streamed live on Facebook, with the video - in which Daley was wearing his dressing gown - viewed by more than 40,000 people before it was removed.

He told group members: "I wouldn't have gone through with it - I'm just someone who likes to chat."

Barrister Jeremy Rawson, defending Daley, told Liverpool Crown Court: "This is a situation where he accepts his conduct and what he has done, and he accepts that his behaviour needs to be addressed.

"In my submission, this is a case where the court can back down from an immediate custodial sentence.

"If that happened, he would be taken away from society for a brief period with nothing done to address the root cause of his offending."

Daley - a former security guard who is now hoping to find work as a self-employed courier - had previously admitted two counts of engaging in sexual communications with a child, an offence which carries a penalty of up to two years behind bars.

But her honour judge Hilary Manley instead order him to carry out 200 hours of paid work and imposed a three-year community order.

Sentencing, judge Manley said: "It was obvious that you wanted to meet up for sex.

"These are serious offences and young people need to be protected from people like you, who seek to engage with them in sexually charged conversations online.

"But I am going to back down from sending you to prison because it would be far more practical to impose an order to ensure that you never offend again in this way.

"This will be a far better way of protecting the public.

"If you breach this order in any way you could be sent to prison."

Daley, who had no previous convictions, was also ordered to undergo a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 30 days and to pay a victim surcharge.

A notification requirement of five years and sexual harm prevention order was also imposed by judge Manley.