A MAN has been charged with trying to meet a teenage girl for sex.

Nigel McDermott, 52, a builders’ merchant, appeared at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Friday, charged with engaging in sexual communication with a child.

He did not enter a plea and was released on conditional court bail to appear at Lewes Crown Court on March 13.

It is alleged that he was in online contact with someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl, but who was in fact a police officer.

McDermott, of Hawks Ridge, Harnham, Wiltshire, was arrested in a car park at Tilgate Park, Crawley, on Wednesday last week.

Communications devices were seized from him when he was arrested.

Police said their enquiries confirmed no child was at risk.

The prosecution followed an intelligence-led investigation by the Sussex Police Paedophile Online Investigation Team, working closely with the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit.