A PAEDOPHILE who went for a date with a “14-year-old boy” was greeted by an undercover police officer instead.

Despite the 40-year-old sending the “child” pictures of his genitals and making it clear what he was trying to meet the child for, he was spared jail.

Denis Sweeney had been sending sexual messages on the dating app Grindr.

After matching with the profile, named Ollie, the two exchanged how old they were, with Sweeney stating ‘Ollie’ was “naughty” for being on there at his age.

Soon after this, the 40-year-old sent pictures of his genitals to the user and the conversation turn sexual.

The conversation went on for three weeks, taking place in May this year, but “Ollie” was actually an undercover police officer.

The two had arranged to meet in Basildon in June, but when Sweeney arrived at the agreed location, he was confronted by the officer and later arrested.

At one point, Sweeney denied knowing how old the boy was supposed to be, but soon after indicated he wished to admit engaging in sexual communication with a child and trying to facilitate a child sex offence.

Sweeney, of Church Road, Basildon, was remanded in custody and appeared at Basildon Crown Court on Friday for sentencing.

He dressed in a grey suit and blue tie, speaking only to confirm his name and date of birth.

Mitigation for Sweeney said he was remorseful for his actions and that it was an isolated incident.

Judge Samantha Leigh was also told that Sweeney was due to be moving in with a family with a child.

Due to his six months of time already served, and so that he can complete a rehabilitation course, Judge Leigh chose to give Sweeney a community order.

Addressing him, she said: “What I’m going to do is exceptional because it would have been a sentence of 18 months.

“This order will be a direct alternative to sentence. If you breach this order, I will reserve the case to me, and you will be back before this court, and you will go to prison.

“Please make sure you understand this.”

Sweeney’s community order will last for three years and he will be subject to a Sexual Harm and Prevention Order for at least five years, with 90 hours of rehabilitation activity.

He has also been banned from any unsupervised contact with boys under 16 years of age.