A PHOTOGRAPHER has been handed a community order after he sexually communicated with two people whom he thought were children.

Matthew Cale, of Orchard Place, Ledbury, was instead speaking to online decoys when the offences happened between December 17, 2022 and February 17, 2023.

The 36-year-old is well-known in the county for photographing local men's football matches.

Prosecutor, Mark Hambling told Hereford Magistrates Court that there were two decoy accounts, with suggestions that one of the individuals was aged 13. 


"He [Cale] communicated with two groups and they made their concerns known to the police," said Mr Hambling. 

"There was a search warrant at this home address and some devices were seized. They were examined and confirmed that he had been in contact with two decoy accounts."

The court heard that Cale told the online decoys he was a professional photographer and asked if they wanted to post for photographs. 

"Mr Cale is interviewed but doesn't make too much of an explanation," said Mr Hambling.

In defence, Chris Reid said Cale went on the Internet to make contact with two separate groups, and on both occasions, it was on the basis that he was dealing with an adult.


"He accepts that in both cases there is a suggestion that it is not an adult but a child," said Mr Reid.

"Mr Cale should have ceased contact. He didn't - he continued the contact, which was ongoing."

The court heard that Cale talked about things that could happen when the child was older. 

"There is no suggestion that these incidents took place," said Mr Reid. 

"He is a man who was seeking contact. It is inappropriate and clearly, he shouldn't have done so. 

"He has pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and he is engaging with a specialist agency."

Cale was handed a 36-month community order which requires him to carry out 20 rehabilitation activity days. He was also told to comply with an electronic curfew, although that has now ended. 

The court also imposed a sexual prevention order lasting up to three years. It prevents Cale from accessing the Internet unless he first notifies a police officer and it it retains and displays the history use.

Cale will also have to pay court costs of £185 and a victim surcharge of £114 respectively.