A man caused a street disruption when he targeted a sex offender in Strensall.
York Crown Court heard the man attacked Anthony Welburn, 36, and then called out police to stop the situation escalating when his actions led to residents coming out onto the streets.
Welburn, of Strensall, pleaded guilty to downloading indecent images of children.
Judge Simon Hickey said the police were hard-pressed as it was to maintain order during the pandemic.
“I feel there may be people out there bent on such mischief in terms of creating other offences (of assault),” he said.
He passed an eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years on condition Welburn does a 90-day sex offender rehabilitation programme and 30 days’ rehabilitative activities.
He also made him subject to a sexual harm prevention order restricting his use of the internet and put him on the sex offenders’ register, both for 10 years.
Patrick Palmer, prosecuting, said Welburn had four sexual images of children of the most serious category, three pictures and a video of the next category and 119 images of the least serious category on his devices. Most were downloaded between November 13 and December 29, 2019.
“On December 29, the defendant was arrested at his home in Strensall after police received a call from a person who claimed to be a member of a paedophile hunter group who said he had detained the defendant and residents were coming out (into the street) and the situation was escalating,” he said.
Following his arrest, Welburn was “distressed” and admitted having indecent images on his internet devices.
He had been searching for illegal images on the internet.
Welburn told police “he was in a dark place at the time” and admitted he had used websites with the images for sexual gratification.