A DANGEROUS paedophile who has repeatedly tried to sexually groom young girls is back behind bars after being caught in a volunteer group's online sting operation.

Carlisle Crown Court heard that David Mawdsley, 46, was living in Lowther Street in Carlisle when he committed his latest offences.

Activists from the Confronted & Caught group, which combats online child sex "predators", handed him over to police after making a 'citizens' arrest'.

He was jailed for 32 months.

Mawdsley pleaded guilty to six offences: two of attempting to communicate sexually with a child; two counts of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity; and two allegations of breaching his existing Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

The court heard that an activist from Confronted & Caught who created a fake online profile - assuming the identity of a 13-year-old girl - was contacted by the defendant.

Despite the volunteer making it clear she was a 13-year-old girl, Mawdsley, using a false name, began sexualised conversations with her.

He asked her to perform sex acts and sent her photos of his private parts.

On November 18, Mawdsley unwittingly committed an almost identical offence with another decoy, believing he was talking to a 14-year-old girl.

He was detained in Lowther Street, Carlisle, by the group's volunteers two days later as he went to meet a woman he thought had agreed to meet him for sex.

Prosecutor Alaric Walmsley outlined the defendant's criminal history, which included three similar offences.

On two occasions he was jailed for those crimes.

Tim Evans, for Mawdsley, said he was learning a harsh lesson that if he refused to change his behaviour he would continue to be prosecuted and punished.

Passing sentence, Recorder Abigail Hudson described Mawdsley as "dangerous", telling him: "I am entirely satisfied that it is almost inevitable that you will engage children in further sexual communication and try to incite them into further sexual activity. You have been convicted repeatedly in relation to these offences."

The judge noted that Mawdsley committed the offences within three weeks of being released from prison.

She put him on the Sex Offenders' Register indefinitely and imposed a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

This means he can have no unsupervised access to any child.

He will have to serve two thirds of the 32-month jail term before becoming eligible for release on licence and will must serve a five-year extended licence period after his release.