A MENSTRIE man sent sexual messages online to someone he thought was a child.

However, Peter Barnett was in fact contacting an undercover police officer acting as a decoy to snare paedophiles.

Barnett, of Burnside Road, appeared for sentencing at Alloa Sheriff Court last Thursday, September 28.

The 59-year-old admitted that on April 12, last year, he sent a sexual message to someone he thought was a child under the age of 16 but who was actually an undercover police officer and that he attempted to communicate indecently with a child.

Defence solicitor Charlotte Watt said her client was a first offender and "feels shame, embarrassment and guilt".

She added: "He's genuinely disgusted with himself.

"He was spending a lot of time on the internet and drinking too much. Because of his intoxication he has no recollection."

"That seems very surprising," said Sheriff Neil Bowie.

Barnett was put on a community payback order with three years of supervision and a restriction of liberty order for five months.

He has also been put on the sex offenders' register for five years.