A paedophile from Ammanford carried on offending despite being cornered in a Cross Hands car park by vigilantes, a judge heard today.

Thomas William Cannon, aged 28, was jailed for five years for a string of sex offences against underage girls.

Robin Rouch, prosecuting, told Swansea crown court how Cannon, of Parklands Road, joined an Internet chat room and connected with a "Laura, aged 15."

"Laura" was a decoy invented by a group of paedophile hunters, but Cannon exchanged more than 2,000 messages with "her," many of them sexual.

Cannon sent "Laura" explicit photographs and eventually arranged to meet her at the McDonald's in Cross Hands, intending or hoping, said Mr Rouch to have sexual intercourse with her.

He was pounced upon by vigilantes.

Mr Rouch said Cannon was arrested for attempting to entice an underage girl to engage in sexual activity. Police removed a computer from his home and discovered he had downloaded indecent images of children.

Despite not being "scared when the police came knocking" Cannon set about a second series of offences.

Mr Rouch said he joined a different chat room, posted a story of a sexual nature and waited to see who responded. Then he filtered out the girls aged 14 and 15, this time real people, and began messaging five of them.

He managed to persuade a 14 year old girl to send him photographs and carry out explicit acts.

Judge Geraint Walters said that would "hit her, and hit her hard" when she was older.

Judge Walters, one of the most senior judges in Swansea, said in his experience the regret later felt could be life changing.

Cannon admitted a total of 13 offences, all of them sexual and involving underage girls.

Defence barrister James Hartson said Cannon had been "blisteringly frank" with the police and recognised that he needed help.

Judge Walters issued a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, restricting his access to young girls and the Internet, and told him to register with the police as a sex offender, both orders to run indefinitely.

The confrontation with the paedophile hunters should have "scared him senseless" but instead he carried on offending regardless.