Paedophile's sentence increased after police sting

Alan Nicholson, from High Harrington, Cumbria, had his case referred to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme.

In September 2021, Alan Nicholson (53) spoke to a woman online, called Louise, who he believed had two daughters, aged five years-old and a baby of four-months.

Their conversations revolved around serious acts of sexual abuse that Nicholson intended to carry out on Louise's children.

However, Louise was an undercover police officer supporting Cumbria Constabulary's Cyber and Digital Crime Unit.

Nicholson was found guilty on two counts of attempting to arrange/facilitate the commission of a child sex offence and received a three-year prison sentence.

He was also placed on the Sex Offender's Register and given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.

Following the sentencing at the Crown Court at Carlisle on 16 December 2022, the case was referred to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme.

Nicholson's original sentence was found to be unduly lenient by the Court of Appeal on 9 March 2023 and was increased to 5 years 9 months.

Speaking after the hearing, the Solicitor General Michael Tomlinson KC MP, said:

Alan Nicholson believed he was successfully arranging to carry out vile acts on very young children. Thankfully the person he was talking to was an undercover police officer, whose diligent and commendable work led to his imprisonment.

I would like to praise all of those involved for catching Alan Nicholson and helping prevent anyone else come to harm. A longer prison sentence for this despicable crime shows such behaviour cannot and will not be tolerated.

Detective Sergeant James Bailey of Cumbria Constabulary's Cyber and Digital Crime Unit said:

We welcome the increased sentence given out to Nicholson.

Our specialist officers work hard behind-the-scenes all-year-round to deter offending, catch criminals and safeguard victims.

We will not tolerate those carrying out such crimes and will continue to do what we can to target those offending in this way and bring them to justice.

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