June 2017

Man sent naked photos to undercover police officer he believed was a young girl

A dad sent nude pictures of himself to a police officer – who he thought was a 13-year-old girl.

Matthew Francis sent a series of messages to someone he believed was a child.

But the 34-year-old was actually sending texts and images to an undercover police officer

Yesterday, he appeared at Banff Sheriff Court for sentencing after previously admitting sending sexually explicit messages to someone he thought was under 16.

He wore sunglasses throughout the hearing, where he was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

Francis, of Dalgaty Terrace, Turriff, was also put on the sex offenders register for a year, and given a supervision order of the same period.

Sheriff Philip Mann said: “This is a serious offence.

“You sent these to a person who was pretending to be a 13-year-old girl. The fact is, you thought you were communicating with a 13-year-old girl and that is concerning.”

The messages were sent between November last year and January this year from various locations, including Francis’s home.

Sheriff Mann said time in prison would have been justifiable if his victim had been “distressed” by the images being sent – and if it were a child.

Francis was warned that failure to comply with his work order, which he will have six months to complete, would mean that he would return to court.

“And a custodial sentence is a distinct possibility,” Sheriff Mann added.

Police were last night unable to comment on the investigation into Francis.