A paedophile who travelled 150 miles to have sex with a schoolgirl was instead snared by online paedophile hunters, and has now been put behind bars.
The Daily Mail reports that Robert Crombie believed he was going to meet a 14-year-old girl he had been chatting to online and sending explicit messages to.
But when the 26-year-old got off the bus from Glasgow to Newcastle last May, with condoms in his bag, he was confronted by members of Dark Justice who had already alerted the police, Newcastle Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court:
He was arrested as a result of the actions of voluntary group Dark Justice, who seek to expose grooming of young people on the internet, through social media, with profiles purporting to be teenage girls.
Crombie initially told police that someone else must have sent the graphic messages, including a picture of his erect penis, but he later admitted attempting to meet a child after sexual grooming.
Judge Robert Adams jailed him for 12 months and imposed a ten year Sexual Harm Prevention Order he must abide by.
Kieran O’Neill, defending, said Crombie was vulnerable – he suffered from learning difficulties, left school without qualifications and was living in a homeless hostel at the time.
Mr O’Neill said:
He was a loner who had access to a computer.
He had condoms with him, he was going to meet her. Whether or not he would have gone through with the offence, we will never know.
He shows great remorse.
Mr O’Neill urged the court to suspend the inevitable prison sentence so Crombie could receive counselling and treatment. Judge Adams, however, said Crombie’s difficulties could in no way justify his behaviour.
He added: “I would be failing in my public duty if it was suspended.”
Dark Justice are a vigilante group based in the north east of England who pose as underage girls online to try and catch paedophiles. Perverts who are expecting to meet young girls are instead faced with members of the group who film the encounters and alert the police – so far they’ve secured at least 17 convictions, and have seen at least ten men jailed for their crimes.