Neil Armstrong, 48, who used the online alias ‘Moon Man’, thought he was having an explicit online conversation with a 14-year-old child but had been duped by paedophile hunters Dark Justice.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the undercover organisation set up fake online profiles to snare adults looking for illegal contact with children.
In August last year, Armstrong made contact with a profile on the Blendr dating app and moved the conversation onto Whatsapp, despite being told he was talking to a 14-year-old, called Amy.
Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court the conversation initially revolved around “clothes, school friends, music and that sort of thing” but Armstrong then made it “sexual” and started talking about having sex with her.
Armstrong, of Fordenbridge Square, Sunderland, was arrested and admitted attempted sexual communication with a child.
Judge Jeremy Freedman sentenced him to a community order for two years with rehabilitation requirements.
Armstrong must sign the sex offenders register and abide by the terms of a sexual harm prevention order for five years.
The judge told him: “You clearly got carried away engaging in this conversation on the internet.