A man from South Wales who travelled to Swindon to meet with a child has been jailed for multiple sexual offences.

Matthew Pritchard, from Bettws in Newport, was arrested in January 2024 after travelling to Swindon to meet what he believed was a girl aged under 13.

Instead, Pritchard was met by police officers who had been working with the undercover Online Investigations Team at the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SWROCU).

Appearing before Swindon Crown Court on May 13, 34-year-old Pritchard pleaded guilty to five sexual offences and one charge of animal cruelty.

These include arranging a child sex offence, two counts of causing a child under 16 to look at an image of sexual activity, attempting to meet a girl under 16 following grooming, attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, and causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The sex offender was sentenced to four years in prison and concurrent sentences.

“Pritchard set out in January with the intention of meeting a young girl to sexually abuse. He clearly poses a high risk to children," said Detective Inspector David Wells, who led the team.

“Law enforcement agencies are constantly across the internet working to identify anyone looking to abuse or exploit children. Pritchard’s arrest was part of this ongoing work.”

Pritchard’s dog that he abused has now been happily rehomed.