A SEX offender believed he was going to meet a teenage boy for a pre-arranged rendezvous, but, instead, was greeted by waiting police officers, a court heard.

Anthony Drayner arranged the meeting with what he believed to be a 14-year-old boy, following an exchange of online messages.

In reality, however, the 44-year-old defendant had fallen for a police sting and was actually communicating with an undercover officer.

Durham Crown Court was told it was in defiance of a previous court order as Drayner was banned from social media use following a conviction for sexual offending against boys.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said police created the fake profile on a site called Fab Guys, which had a supposed lower age limit of 18.

“But, within a couple of messages, the undercover officer said he was ‘only 14’.

“This information was repeated, but Drayner continued to make the conversation ever more sexual.”

He asked if he fancied going for a pint, but the officer replied that he could not as he was only aged 14.

Drayner also sent him an indecent image of a child.

Following persistent requests a meeting was arranged at Monument Metro station in Newcastle, where he was met by police, who carried out his arrest.

Drayner, of High Street, Carrville, Durham, admitted breaching a sexual harm prevention order, attempting to engage in sexual activity with a child, attempting to meet a boy after grooming, plus distributing an indecent photograph, all between February 19 and 28 this year.

Penny Hall, mitigating, described her client as, “a lonely individual”, who lives with his elderly parents.

“He has problems making friends, so he accessed sites aimed at adults.

“He has low intelligence and IQ, and he gets on much better with children than with people of his own age.”

Judge Jonathan Carroll told Drayner he appears to have a continued sexual attraction to young boys.

“You struck up a conversation online which very quickly became sexual, and you persisted with that even though you believed the other person to be 14.

“You present a serious risk of harm to children.”

Jailing him for 26 months, with three years extended licence period, Judge Carroll made Drayner subject of an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order, prohibiting him from contacting children and restricting his internet use. He must also register as a sex offender for life.