August 2011

Judge praises police in city paedophile sting

A JUDGE has praised police for their detective work in arresting a paedophile in a sting operation in the city.

George Wilkinson, 58, was sent to prison for 26 months at Exeter Crown Court after he was arrested on the concourse at St David’s rail station.

Wilkinson had booked a room at the Premier Inn near the train station.

He arranged to meet the girl for sex in July, after chatting to her on a social networking site and exposing himself on webcam.

He expected to meet 14-year-old ‘Amy’ but was instead greeted by police officers who arrested him.

His arrest was part of an ongoing police operation to catch predatory paedophiles targeting youngsters online.

Judge Philip Wassall told Wilkinson that he had been grooming ‘Amy’ over a long period of time and had booked the hotel room and equipped himself with alcohol before being arrested.

He added there was evidence to suggest the defendant had been surfing websites for “some time” before he encountered the undercover officer online.

The judge praised the police sting operation.

He said: “A police officer was engaged in entirely appropriate activity in trying to catch predatory paedophiles.”

The defendant, from Fleetwood, Lancashire, who has been married for 30 years, told his wife he was attending an army reunion.

He was placed on the Sexual Offender Register for a decade and given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for 12 years by Judge Wassall.

The defendant pleaded guilty to attempting to cause a person under 16 to watch a sexual act and a charge of meeting a girl under 16 for sexual grooming.

The court heard Wilkinson was using a social networking site when he approached a girl called ‘Amy’.

He exposed himself on a webcam on two occasions and invited her to meet him in Exeter.

He was arrested on July 1 this year, at the rail station, carrying alcohol for his meeting with the girl.

His wife had now started divorce proceedings and he had been sacked from his job because of the offence.