Sheffield Crown Court heard on June 17 how Anthony James Fieldsend, aged 33, struck up sexual conversations with the two decoys at different times and tried to arrange a meeting with one of them.
Judge Rachael Harrison told Fieldsend: “Had this been a real child, the language you used, and what you were asking would have been devastating.”
Richard Sheldon, prosecuting, explained undercover online operatives were set up by the police on social media with decoy profiles as 12-year-old girls.
Mr Sheldon said Fieldsend, of Derby Street, Barnsley, started communicating with the first profile from July 9, and he told her he had not had sex for months and he sent her a sexual picture and talked about oral sex and meeting her.
The defendant also had an online conversation with the second profile and discussed sex and oral sex and he asked for a photo.
Former tyre-and-exhaust fitter Fieldsend’s work GPS statistics matched the locations of his whereabouts which he had revealed to the profiles but he originally denied the offences and told police his phone had been hacked.
Fieldsend, who has no relevant previous convictions, pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming and to attempting to incite a child to engage in a penetrative sexual act concerning the first profile between July 9 and 23.
He also admitted attempting to communicate with a child concerning the second profile on July 22.
Defence barrister Ian West said Fieldsend is unable to explain why he engaged in online conversations with those he perceived to be 12-year-old girls.
Mr West added: “He wishes to apologise to the court. He tells me this will not happen again. He stresses his concern in life is his family and he describes himself as a big family man.”
Judge Harrison said if Fieldsend had admitted the offences earlier the case could have been dealt with sooner but he had lied in his police interview and in his defence statement.
She sentenced Fieldsend, who is now on the Sex Offenders Register, to 34 months of custody and made him subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.