The High Bailiff has expressed concern about out-of-date legislation to deal with sex offenders.

James Brooks told the court: ‘It seems to me the public is much less well protected than it might be.’

He made the comments as he jailed a man who was caught by an undercover sting sending explicit images and messages via Facebook to two people he thought were children.

Timothy Ian Moulton, 41, of Weston Super Mare, was on holiday here when he contacted what he believed were girls aged 13 and 14. In fact they were decoys from a child protection agency - read the full court report here.

High Bailiff James Brooks jailed him for 28 weeks, but said that he was restricted by Manx legislation, as the offence could only currently be charged under the Telecommunications Act, until new Sexual Offences legislation comes into force.

This meant he could not place Moulton on the Sex Offenders’ Register or impose a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

The maximum sentence for the telecommunications offence is six months’ custody.

Mr Brooks said that had the defendant been charged under new Sexual Offences legislation, he would be on licence when he was released from prison and subject to supervision, but as it stands, under the Telecommunications Act offence he will not be.

Home Affairs and Justice Minister Jane Poole-Wilson said her department was still on course for the implementation of the new Sexual Offences and Obscene Publications Act by the end of this year.

She said: ‘It’s not just a case of introducing the law, we’re going through an extensive period of training with police and prosecutors to ensure the people who will be using it understand the new powers. We’re also writing the statutory guidance for the law.

‘It is worth noting that we’ve got limited resources in the department and so having concluded the Domestic Abuse Act and associated legislation which is now having an impact. The people who were heavily involved in that work are now also involved in the implementation work on the Sexual Offences and Obscene Publications Act.

‘In addition we’re working on the changes to the Justice Reform Act and also to the Liquor Licensing and Public Entertainments legislation.’