A KINCARDINE man has been convicted of speaking to an underage girl in a sexual manner online.

Michael Kilbank was caught after a police officer pretended to be the teen.

The father and husband admitted that he had spoken to an underage female in a sexual manner but no indecent content was found on his electronic devices when they were seized.

Kilbank, 50, of High Street, Kincardine, previously admitted that between June 21 and June 22 at his home address, he attempted sexual written communications to a person whom he believed to be a child who had attained the age of 13 years but had not attained the age of 16 years, in that he, for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification or of humiliating, distressing or alarming them, did by means of a social media platform, repeatedly make sexual comments to said person.

Depute fiscal Dev Kapadia told Dunfermline Sheriff Court that police had received information regarding an individual called 'Fife Boy' claiming to be 32- years-old.

The social media user was involved in a sexual chat with a 13-year-old although there had been discussions about the female's age.

He was traced at an address in Kincardine.

Police officers went to the property one morning but Kilbank's wife told them that he had already left for work.

A number of electronics were then taken but no indecent content was found.

Kilbank was spoken to in Glenrothes and was advised that his devices had been taken and he was under arrest.

Officers asked the accused a number of questions and he said he did not recognise the emails.

He told them he had WhatsApp and and had used the app to conduct extra-marital affairs.

Kilbank said he knew he had been speaking to someone under 16 but stopped that because he knew it was illegal.

He accepted that he used the user name identified by police and had spoken to a female who was under 16 and had asked what she was wearing.

The image he had sent to the female had also confirmed it was Kilbank.

Mr Kapadia made a motion for forfeiture of Kilbank's mobile phone as that was the device the crime was committed on.

Defence solicitor Chris Sneddon argued that there would be no point in removing the phone because his client could just buy another one.

"He accepted responsibility at the earliest opportunity and told police he had been in a conversation," Mr Sneddon said.

"It's quite clear in the social work report that he accepts responsibility for his actions and is ashamed of himself.

"He was on the app to speak to adult females.

"Police took a number of items and nothing illegal was found.

"The position is that he was talking to a 13-year-old who was a police officer."

Sheriff Pino Di Emidio told Kilbank: "You pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. It is clear from the information I have that this incident has caused a lot of disruption to your family.

"This is a matter that the court needs to take seriously but I note that you have taken full responsibility and you are thoroughly ashamed of yourself."

The sheriff imposed a community payback order which includes 120 hours of unpaid work and 12 months' supervision.

As Kilbank was convicted of a sexual crime he will be subject to the sex offenders' register notification requirements.

This includes him not being allowed to have any contact with any children under 16 apart from his own.