Warning: Distressing content

A Catholic priest in the UK has been jailed after a police operation uncovered his plan to abuse a 2-year-old boy.

The net closed around Father Matthew Jolley after he began chatting to a man on dating app Grindr.

The man was an undercover police officer, posing as a 36-year-old bisexual with a young son.

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Within 20 minutes of making contact, Jolley admitted a sexual interest in young children.

Saying that he preferred girls, Jolley told the cop that a "cute" boy would also be of interest and said he wanted to abuse the man's 2-year-old son, before sending an indecent photo of himself.

The Manchester Evening News reported that their conversation moved to encrypted message services, where Jolley revealed he wanted to "share" the child with his father.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Jolley began the communication while he was in Belgium, but planned to return to the UK for two weeks before travelling to Rome.

In that gap he arranged to meet the undercover officer at home.

When he arrived he described his sickening plan to the officer, unaware of his true identity, before the cop unmasked himself, sending the priest running.

He was tackled to the ground and arrested.

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Jolley was jailed for three years and put on the sex offenders register for life after pleading guilty to arranging the commission of a child sex offence.

Judge recorder Jeremy Lakser told Jolley: "It cannot be said it was an aberration, it was something you considered at length over a time. During that lengthy period it progressed so far as you believed almost to fruition.

"You are an ordained priest in the Catholic church.

"I do not impose a more severe sentence for that reason but it goes without saying, although I do say it, that your words and actions and intentions seem to me to be wholly inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic church and you have done nothing but a great disservice to the church."