A FORMER youth worker told an undercover police officer he would travel to London to sexually abuse children between four and 11-years-old, a court has heard.

Adam Gardner, whose address was given as Victoria Close in Bovington, appeared before Weymouth Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, February 1 where he pleaded guilty to one count of publishing an obscene article.

The charge relates to a series of messages - sent via messaging apps KIK and WhatsApp  - as well as a phone call in which Gardner engaged with an undercover police officer to outline a series of “fantasies” regarding the abuse of children, including rape.

The offences took place between July 5 and July 7 of last year when Gardner joined a group that prosecutor Elizabeth Valera said he believed was for “like-minded individuals”. 

Gardner, 46, shared non-explicit images of children with an undercover operative and proceeded to describe how he would like to sexually abuse them. At one point Gardner told the operative fantasies about raping a young girl.

The former youth worker then shared a phone call with the undercover officer - who described Gardner as “aggressive” - in which he is reported to have said he would travel more than 100 miles from his home in Bovington to London in order to sexually abuse girls he believed to be aged four and eleven.

Ms Valera said Gardner had told the operative he would “hold (the children) down” before describing in detail how they would be abused.

Lee Christmas, representing Gardner, said: “This is a strange offence in that if he said these obscene things face to face there’s no crime. It’s simply because it’s done over the internet that it falls within legislation. It’s something that only becomes a crime if you do it online. 

“(The contents of the messages) is pure fantasy."

Michael Harris, chairman of the magistrates’ bench, told Gardner in that pleading guilty he “accepted” that he had sent the messages and warned the defendant he could face a custody term when he gets sentenced.

Mr Harris said: “We are leaving all options open, including custody.”

The case was adjourned for a probation report to be produced ahead of sentencing on March 21 at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court.