A PERVERT travelled to a hotel armed with sex toys, chocolate and an unopened packet of girls' underwear with the intention of meeting a teenager.

Martin Latimer booked a hotel room and travelled to Pitsea on April 27 believing he was going to meet a 13-year-old girl he had been chatting to online.

However, Essex Police were aware of his intentions and instead he was arrested on site and later charged with three child sex offences. 

The 36-year-old admitted to facilitating and arranging a child sex offence, causing a child to watch a sexual act and engaging a child in sexual chat, at Basildon Crown Court on 28 May this year. 

Latimer of Connaught Road, Hove, East Sussex, was sentenced to three years in prison at the same court on Wednesday.

A month prior to his arrest, Latimer befriended what he believed to be a 13-year-old girl online.

A spokesman for Essex Police has confirmed vigilante paedophile hunters were not involved in the sting but they could not confirm whether the “child” the man was talking to was a decoy or a teenage girl, citing operational reasons.

Over the course of five weeks, Latimer engaged in sexual conversation with her and sent naked photographs and videos of himself performing sexual acts.

He booked and paid for a bed and breakfast and travelled to Pitsea by train carrying a bag containing sex toys, chocolate and an unopened packet of girls’ underwear.

Latimer was arrested at The Nazeing, Basildon by officers from the force’s Police Online Investigation Team.

PC Adam Colbear said: “Latimer travelled to Essex with every intention of engaging in sexual activity with a child he believed to be just 13 years of age. 

“He researched, booked and paid for a bed and breakfast and embarked on a two-hour train journey to meet the girl he had been grooming for a number of weeks. 

“Latimer has shown no remorse for his actions and he will now be put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.”

An NSPCC spokesman said: “Latimer set out to groom and sickeningly abuse a 13-year-old girl showing just how easy it is for predators to target vulnerable children online.

"Last year in Essex, police recorded 170 sexual offences against children with an online element, which is why we are calling for statutory regulation of social media to compel tech companies to protect children on their sites as a priority.”