But he did not turn up and was arrested at his Chesterton home the next day.
Prosecutor Richard McConaghy said: “He asked for a photograph of her in school uniform. He then proceeded to ask if she wanted to have sex with him. She pointed out she was 14. The person purporting to be the girl constantly returned to the topic of being 14.
“She asked if sex would hurt and he said he would be gentle. He asked her to come to Stoke-on-Trent. She said he could come to her. He asked if she would wear a nightie to bed for him.
“He suggested they could have a shower together. He asked her for sex again. She replied, ‘Are you sure 14-year-olds can do this? Can I trust you’? He replied, ‘Yes babe’.
“He also asked her to send naked photos of herself. He sent her a picture of himself with his private parts exposed.”
Franks, of Walton Place, Chesterton, was arrested on June 2. He pleaded guilty to three offences of attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.
Franks has been handed a three-year community order. He must complete a sex offender programme, a rehabilitation activity requirement for 15 days and 120 hours unpaid work.
He was made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order which prohibits him from deleting the history of his internet use and communicating with anyone under 16. He was placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years.
Judge David Fletcher told Franks: “This was not someone searching for sexual images. This was someone entering into a discussion with a 14-year-old.
“You know at the age of 54, a girl of 14 is a child. You were not to know this was not really a 14-year-old girl. You cannot, and must not believe, that what you were doing was any less serious because this was not a real person at the other end.
“Sitting in your bedroom, or wherever your computer is, and behaving in this way is completely unhealthy. It has got you into very serious trouble indeed.
“You are 40 years older than the person you thought you were speaking to on the computer.
“You are going to have to be more involved in the community.”