A group of paedophile hunters confronted a supermarket employee at work after he sent a picture of his penis to the fake account of a 14-year-old girl.
Garon Owen, 45, began talking with who he thought was a schoolgirl called Emily over a dating website and began sending sexually charged messages to her, despite being told she was underage.
The defendant later arranged a “date” with the fictional teenager, asking her to miss school to go to McDonalds in Cardiff, before heading to the cinema.
He also asked “Emily” if she wanted him to her boyfriend and told her not to show her parents their conversation, which included photographs of his penis and obscene requests for naked photos and sexual favours, as well as asking to “take her virginity”.
Prosecutor Rachel Knight told the sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court on Friday that Owen contacted “Emily” on the Meet4u dating app on January 28 and spoke to her over the following week, with the meeting in Cardiff arranged for February 7.
But First Line Defence South Wales, the group behind the decoy account, confronted Owen at Asdain Coryton, where he worked as a trolley collector, on February 5, and carried out a citizens arrest
The confrontation was live streamed by the group on Facebook but has since been deleted.
The police attended and arrested Owen and they were given a copy of his conversations with “Emily”.
In his police interview, Owen told police he felt like the girl’s teacher and wanted her to “progress in life”.
He admitted sending her a picture of his penis to see her reaction.
He said he was aware the conversation had gone too far when he told her not to tell her parents.
The defendant apologised to the officers and said he had been the victim of bullying when he was younger because he didn’t have girlfriends and suffered erectile dysfunction.
When the case came to court he pleaded guilty to one count of attempting sexual communication with a child, one count of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of attempting to arrange to meet a child following grooming.
Sentencing, Judge Timothy Petts told Owen, of Tyn y Coed Road, Pentyrch, he had to learn what he had done was wrong.
Owen was made subject to a 24 months community order with a rehabilitation requirement of 35 days.
He will also be subject to an electronic curfew and a sexual harm prevention order for five years, as well as requiring to sign the sex offenders’ register for the same period.