June 2018

38-year-old who attempted to meet with schoolgirl caught in police operation

A PERVERT who attempted to meet up with a young schoolgirl was caught out – after ‘the child’ turned out to be an undercover police officer.

Iain Denniston from Lennoxtown, near Glasgow began chatting with ‘13-year-old Mia’ during sordid online chat sessions and arranged the meet up with the youngster at Waverley Station in Edinburgh.

But when Denniston, 38, turned up to meet the young teen at the Capital’s main railway station in May last year he was met by plain-clothed officers who had set the sting up and were waiting for him.

The pervert had pleaded guilty to arranging to meet a child between 13 and 16-years-old for sexual activity when he previously appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court and he returned to court for sentencing last Thursday.

Sheriff Frank Crowe told Denniston he had committed “a very serious offence” but stopped short of jailing the offender.

Instead Denniston was placed on the sex offenders register for the next two years and ordered to take part in the sex offenders’ rehabilitation scheme Moving Forward Making Changes.

Previously fiscal depute Lorna Ferrier told the court intelligence regarding Denniston was passed to Police Scotland as a result of “an English police planned operation” in June last year.

Ms Ferrier said: “A covert police officer was posing as Mia, a 13-year-old girl on the internet.

“Police Scotland cyber crime unit were informed of the operation and were told a 37-year-old male was engaging in sexual communications and sending indecent images to Mia.

“The police were also told the accused had purchased train tickets and was arranging to meet with Mia at Waverley train station with the intention of unlawful sexual activity.”

The police set up a detailed surveillance of the train station and when the pervert arrived “they approached and detained him” in relation to the offence. 

In sentencing Denniston, Sheriff Crowe said: “This is very serious conduct and as a result the police have deployed this technique to go online. “This is a very serious offence you were involved in here and police have to undertake actions like this to protect youngsters who go online perhaps earlier than they should do.”

Denniston pleaded guilty to attempting to arrange to travel with the intention of meeting a female child believed to be between the ages of 13 and 16 with the intention of engaging in unlawful sexual activity involving the child between February 8 and May 31 last year.

A not guilty plea to contacting ‘Mia’ through social media and texts and intentionally causing the girl to look at a sexual image of his penis between the same dates was accepted by the Crown.