Repeat offender avoids prison after being caught by paedophile hunting team

An already convicted sex offender has avoided a prison sentence after he was grooming what he believed was a child for sexual activity

Joe Collins, 21 of Ecclefechan appeared at Sheriff Court where he admitted sexual communication with a child and meeting a child following sexual grooming

The court was told that Collins had contacted the online profile of someone he believed was a 13 year old girl

Collins sent highly sexualised messages and images in a clear bid to groom the child for sexual activity

However, the child did not exist and was instead an adult member of paedophile hunting team ‘Dark Light’ who pose online as children to catch sexual predators who target kids

In February 2018, Collins arranged to meet the girl but when he arrived at the scene he was confronted by paedophile hunters ‘Groom Resisters Scotland’ and questioned on his internet activity.

A member of the team rang the police and Collins was arrested at the scene.

The judge handed Collins a community payback order which would last for three years and told him he must also register as a sex offender