He says he stayed with his partner only because she announced she was pregnant.

I’m also dismayed to find that Naughty Boy69 is also unavailable. Two hours later my inbox is still ringing hollow – not a single response.

Testing if the experience is gender-specific, I coax a female colleague (see right) into signing up to a rival site. On a separate account, posing as a woman, I get chatting to a male user.

We are working with law enforcement agencies, which are investigating. There’s the option to send digital gifts: a teddy bear, a rose or a sapphire necklace (at £16! I swap the last of my credits for 30 minutes of live chat.

Any and all parties responsible for this act of cyber–terrorism will be held responsible.”For now, the site is still charging, apparently banking on the impulsivity that drives online gambling. A message pops up “hi can give you a strip show right now… ” I am directed to a live webcam site but with one eye on my expenses claim, I decide to call it a day and let the flood of red-lip emojis cascade over me.

Priming myself not to lie or deceive, I set up a profile.

I hit the first hurdle when both usernames Naughty Boy88 and Naughty Boy1988 are taken.

Browsing through the website’s members’ pages, I see about 18,760 men in London aged 40-49 signed up to the site, compared with 4,730 women in the same age range. Some advertise themselves as religious; most are older men who know they are out of my preferred age range, but “just want to say hi anyway”.

It’s no wonder I’m being hounded as one of just 30 women under 30 years old with an active account – the ones messaging me know it too, trying to attract my attention with openers such as “pick me! Of course there are explicit messages but most are polite, friendly – verging on begging letters.

Their stories are largely the same old cliché: stuck in a loveless marriage and seeking a thrill to ease the mid-life crisis.

Chat-up lines range from “one woman’s fresh meat is another’s stale smorgasboard [sic]” to “are you a tea or a coffee person?

Avid Life Media, the site’s parent company, is yet to announce a course of action.