A WORDSLEY man who posed as a child on the internet so he could chat to men and women he believed had a sexual interest in youngsters has been spared time behind bars.

Stuart Webb admitted he was addicted to pretending he was a child and he created four pseudonyms, which he took it in turn to adopt according to his mood, said Mark Rees, prosecuting.

It was never the intention of the 44-year-old to get in touch with children and he had no sexual interest in them, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

He wanted to get in touch with adults who were of the firm opinion they were conversing with a child and this got him in contact with a number of experienced paedophiles.

But Webb was rumbled when the Metropolitan Police raided a house in Kent and they found a computer that contained three indecent photographs of children that has been sent out by Webb.

These were traced to Webb‘s home on Church Road and he was arrested in a raid during which more pornographic photos of children were discovered on computer equipment.

"He admitted he was addicted to pretending to be a child and talking to men and women he believed had a sexual interest in children," said Mr Rees.

"Using the images as bait he conversed with individuals pretending to be a child."

Webb , who is now living in a hostel in Birmingham, admitted making indecent photographs of children and distributing three indecent images of children.

He was placed on supervision for three years with a condition he attends the Sex Offenders Programme and also ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work in the community.

Judge Michael Challinor further made him the subject of a Sexual Offenders Protection Order for five years and ruled he must sign the Sex Offenders Register for the same period.

The judge told Webb: "The alternative is a short prison sentence that would not be long enough for you to attend the programme. The public can be protected from you by you being forced to face up to what you have done on this demeaning three year course."

Samantha Powis, defending, told the court: "He was going through a difficult time in his life and he found it easier to pretend to be other people rather than himself.

"He has already paid a high price for this having lost his partner, his home and his job. It is clear he is a man who needs help rather than punishment."