A pervert who was planning to have sex with a13-year-old girl was trapped by a group of paedophile hunters.
Sabir Haji arranged to meet the “schoolgirl”, Jodie Walsh, after chatting to her over the internet.
But when he turned up at Moses Gate railway station he was met instead by members of Dark Justice, an organisation dedicated to catching paedophiles, and taken to a police station.
At Bolton Crown Court he was given a suspended prison sentence after admitting attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.
Anthony Stephenson, prosecuting, told how, in September last year, Haji, aged 46, of Dalston Gardens, Bolton, went on an internet chat site designed for over-18s.
There he encountered Jodie, who told him she was aged 13 and from Birmingham.
In reality she did not exist and her profile had been created by a member of Dark Justice.
Messages were sent between them, with Haji sending her an indecent photograph of himself and pornographic videos.
He arranged to meet her at Moses Gate station on September 9 last year, but he was met instead by the paedophile hunters.
Russell Davies, defending, described Haji and ashamed and remorseful, but described the paedophile hunters’ actions as tantamount to entrapment.
“It was dangled before him like bait on a fishing line,” he said.
“The objective of paedophile hunting, so called, is to seek to prevent the commission of crime but the reality in some cases, and in my submission this is one, is that the opportunity is presented to sometimes lonely and vulnerable individuals who become encouraged to pursue it.”
But Judge Elliot Knopf described Haji’s behaviour as “reprehensible” and told him: “It was you who enthusiastically made arrangements to meet someone you thought was a 13-year-old child with the intention to take the person you were going to meet to some convenient location where you would have sex with that person.
“I accept that you feel genuine remorse for what you did.”
Judge Knopf sentenced Haji to 18 months in prison suspended for two years and ordered him to undertake 250 hours of unpaid work.
In addition he will subject to an 8pm to 6am curfew for four months and must participate in 25 days of rehabilitation activities.
Haji will remain on the sex offenders’ register and be subject to a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.