A PERVERT who was snared by paedophile hunters after a member posed as a 13-year-old girl has been jailed.

Alcoholic Mark Walker, 45, from Cwmbran, was entrapped by a vigilante group called Keeping Kids Safe or KKS.

Prosecutor Gareth James told Cardiff Crown Court how the defendant first made contact with what he thought was a young schoolgirl from Scunthorpe.

Walker, of Hillside Court, Pontnewydd, began exchanging messages on a dating website last October before he began using WhatsApp to communicate with her.

He was being ensnared all along by a 35-year-old woman from KKS pretending to be an underage girl.

Mr James said that over time, Walker became more and more sexually suggestive in his messages and had talked about meeting up with ‘Maisie’ and how they could be “boyfriend and girlfriend”.

KKS then contacted police in the Scunthorpe area.

Officers there passed the details on to Gwent Police and the defendant was arrested in March.

He pleaded guilty before magistrates to attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

Mr James told the court that Walker had no previous convictions for sexual offences but had been in prison before for burglary and also had a charge of harassment against his name.

Kevin Seal, mitigating, said his client was an alcoholic who had struggled to cope with the death of his mother and a recent breakdown with a long-term partner.

His barrister said: “If he does not address his addiction and abuse of alcohol, it is probable that he will die.”

Mr Seal said Walker was attempting to tackle the problem.

Judge Philip Harris-Jenkins told the defendant that his offences were so serious that only a custodial sentence could be justified.

He said Walker had thought he was grooming a young girl, adding: “You have an unhealthy interest in children.”

The judge jailed him for one year. Walker must also register as a sex offender for 10 years and he was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for the same period.

He must also pay a victim surcharge of £140.