Sex offender caught in sting in Barrow sentenced

A sex offender stung by a group of paedophile hunters after he contacted what he thought was a 12-year-old girl has been sentenced at crown court.

Neil Bamber avoided a prison sentence after he was convicted of attempting to a incite a girl into a sexual activity.

The moment an online anti-grooming group caught up to the 64-year-old in Barrow was shared online.

Bamber pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity.

The offences were said to have taken place between May 11 and June 9 2019.

He was said to have asked a 12-year-old to take intimate photos of herself.

Bamber was also said to have intentionally communicated with a girl he knew was under 16, asking her to take indecent photos and saying he wanted to engage in sexual intercourse with her.

A video shared following the sting by groups No More Secrets and Scales of Justice in 2019 showed the moment Bamber was confronted over his crimes.

In the video he is heard admitting contacting the girl.

Filming him, a member of the group said: “We’ve come to talk to you about your online activity with a 12-year-old… the 12-year-old you have been sending these messages to was this gentleman.”

The group member told viewers: “This man is absolutely vile.”

He said Bamber exchanged messages with the decoy on Facebook Messenger and then moved on to Whatsapp before he started to get ‘aggressive’.

The group said he told the decoy ‘you must always obey me’ and then asked her to take indecent photos of herself.

Asked why he had sent the messages, he said: “I felt sorry for her because she was getting picked on at school.

“I know it shouldn’t have turned sexual.

“She was getting bullied and I thought I would be a friend.

“I’m sorry for what I’ve done.”

He told the group he had never done it before and was not talking to any other children online.  

Police were then seen to arrive and were provided with the evidence of messages by the groups.

At Preston Crown Court Bamber was jailed for a total of 20 months, suspended for two years.

He was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and will be kept on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

The court also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of Bamber’s electronic devices.

On top of that he was told to complete 40 rehabilitation requirement days.

His address was previously given as no fixed abode.

Evidence obtained by paedophile hunters using decoy accounts can be used in criminal proceedings.

The Supreme Court ruled last year that gathering evidence in covert sting operations does not breach a person’s human rights.