‘Disgusting’ creep in West Ham shirt snared by paedophile hunters
A “disgusting” retired driver who arranged to meet a girl he met online who he thought was 14 years old was exposed by paedophile hunters
Timothy Hobbs, 61, travelled from Taunton in Somerset to Bournemouth, Dorset, expecting to meet the girl who he said he would like to see in a swimsuit.
Hobbs even told the “girl” she would recognise him because he would be wearing a West Ham football shirt.
A court heard that this description made him easy to spot by the paedophile hunters who intercepted him and handed him over to the police.
Judge Anthony Barnett, sitting at Winchester Crown Court, heard how Hobbs was caught in 2019
Hobbs, who now lives in Torquay, admitted causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and arranging to meet a child, he committed both offences in September 2019.
Prosecuting, Francisca da Costa told the court a man from a paedophile hunter group caught Hobbs when he arranged to meet the girl in Bournemouth, saying he would be in a West Ham shirt.
When he arrived in the shirt, he was easily identifiable to the hunter group.
Ms da Costa said: “On September 4, 2019 the civilian set up an online profile on the app Oasis called Megan, the defendant used the profile Hannahs1234.
“Hobbs made contact saying ‘hello, my name is Tim’ and continued ‘how old are you, can I see your photo please?’ The defendant said ‘you are so gorgeous’ and ‘you don’t look 14’.”
Hobbs asked for the girl’s number and began communicating with her on WhatsApp.
The court heard how the defendant said he would like to see her in a swimsuit and on September 21, 2019, arranged to meet her in Bournemouth.
Defence counsel Robin Leach said the defendant lived alone in Torquay without contact with his ex-wife and children.
Judge Barnett described the behaviour as “disgusting” and sentenced Hobbs to 12 months for arranging to meet a child and eight months for inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
The sentences, which were to be served concurrently, were suspended for two years.
Hobbs was given an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order, meaning any device he owns capable of accessing the internet must be notified to the authorities and he is not allowed to hide from the authorities.
He was also ordered to carry out 20 rehabilitation requirement days.