After the meeting was scheduled, the freelance paedophile hunter called police and met with them near Jenkins’ place of work.
The decoy showed them pictures of the defendant that had been sent to him and provided a transcript of messages.
When police entered the building, they identified Jenkins and asked to see his mobile phone.
He said “no” and reached his arm into a cupboard before officers grabbed hold of him – they discovered that he was reaching for his phone.
Jenkins was arrested and taken to a Harlow police station that day.
While in custody he made two phone calls, he was overheard saying in the first call, “It was just general messages, it’s nothing.”
But later, when he was on the phone to his father, officers heard him say, “I was talking to a boy, he was underage.”
Judge David Turner QC said to Jenkins as he sentenced him: “On that day you found yourself in dialogue with someone who you thought was underage when in fact that someone has been described as a paedophile hunter.
“You had contact with that individual with whom you thought was a boy. You told of your location, you exchanged photographs – not highly explicit, but you said you didn’t expect him to arrive,
“As you said in the exchanged message that it could get you into trouble. He made it clear he was 15 although there was no real live underage person.”
Jenkins, of Bannister Close, Dunmow, received a 12-month custodial sentence, suspended for two years, for one count of attempting to meet a male child under the age of 16 following sexual grooming.
He was ordered to join the Horizon programme for up to 35 sessions, to complete 20 rehabilitation activity days, and a Sexual Harm Prevention Order was put in place which cannot be breached for 10 years.
Jenkins was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.
The forfeiture and destruction of the mobile phone was ordered by the judge and Jenkins was ordered to pay £200 for prosecution costs within six weeks.