A South Cumbria man who committed online child sex crimes has been spared a prison sentence.
Carlisle Crown Court heard how Alan Capstick engaged in sexualised conversations with both boys and girls using the Skype application on an iPhone.
Capstick, 45, was said to have indicated he was a man in his mid-20s as he conversed with youngsters he knew were aged under 16.
He did not admit his guilt until the second day of his crown court trial, when he admitted eight counts of attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity.
His crimes were separate chats held from April to August, 2015.
Capstick, a man with no previous convictions, also admitted publishing an obscene article - relating to his possession of the Skype transcripts.
The court heard his "decent, hard-working" family were left "sickened to the core" upon learning of his offending, while Capstick was "truly ashamed and deeply sorry".
Judge Peter Hughes QC felt custody was "richly deserved", but instead imposed a three-year community order as a "better, more constructive way" of dealing with the case.
Capstick, of Dale Avenue, Kendal, must complete a sex offender treatment programme, rehabilitation and 100 hours' unpaid work.
He must sign the sex offenders' register; and abide by the terms of a sexual harm prevention order - both for five years; and pay £1,200 costs.