Richard Roberts
Richard Roberts a former Lib Dem councillor has been handed a 15 year prison sentence after being convicted of child sex offences Police handout

A former Liverpool councillor was exposed as a paedophile in an undercover police sting where he was preparing to video himself sexually abusing a three-year-old girl.

Former Liberal Democrat chairman and Warbreck councillor Richard Roberts had travelled to Manchester where he was planning to meet a man, who he thought was bringing his granddaughter for Roberts to abuse.

An undercover officer had spent a month convincing Roberts over an internet chat service that he was also a paedophile. Roberts was persuaded to send a depraved image before the pair agreed to meet.

But when the 66-year-old arrived at a meeting point in Heaton Park, Manchester on 21 April this year, he was arrested by police. In his car police found a camera Roberts was planning to use to film himself molesting the child.

Police then searched Roberts' home where they seized a PC and found a catalogue of 850,000 child sex images he compared to "a stamp collection". Also a charity fundraiser in his community Roberts had amassed the images over a 14 year period.

During their investigation police discovered that Roberts had abused a vulnerable boy.

According to the Liverpool Echo his mother said she was "devastated" at the revelation, saying: "All I can, and will do now, is pick up the pieces for my sweet little boy, every time this comes back to haunt him."

Roberts was handed a 15-year jail sentence, with an extended licence period of five years, after admitting to 16 charges, including offences of making and distributing indecent photos of children, possessing extreme pornography, causing a child to engage in sexual activity, and arranging a child sex offence. He must sign the sex offenders register for life.

Judge Hilary Manley told Roberts that he was a dangerous offender that posed a "significant risk of serious harm" to the public as she jailed him, adding that he had "irrevocably damaged" the boy he abused.

Manley said: "You have described your amassing of this vile material as akin to collecting stamps. This could not be further from such a harmless pursuit.

"The descriptions of the material here are so horrible I have ordered it is not appropriate they are read out in court. Some involve what can only be properly described as torture.

"The undercover officer has to be commended for performing what must be extremely unpleasant and appalling work."