January 2019

Wannabe police officer’s career hopes in tatters after he’s caught by paedophile hunters

A young man’s ambitions to become a police officer are in tatters after he was caught having online sex chat with what he thought was an underage girl.

Adam Snowball made contact with what he thought was a 14-year-old called Louise on website Blendr and soon turned the conversation to sexual matters.

In fact he had been chatting to a fake profile which had been set up by paedophile hunting vigilantes looking to catch people seeking inappropriate contact with children.

After two days of talking, Snowball’s contact tailed off but Guardians of the North turned up at his home and called police.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 21-year-old, who has a loving and supportive family and a good job, has suffered public humiliation as a result of his arrest outside his parents’ home.

Now Snowball, who admitted attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, had been given a community order and ordered to do a sex offender treatment programme.

The court heard it was in August last year that Snowball first contacted the Louise profile on Blendr and it then moved on to Kik.

Prosecutor Michael Bunch said: “Within a short period of time the defendant asked if she was a virgin and asked what she was wearing.

“He was told pyjamas and underwear and he asked her to prove it.

“He asked what the most she had done with a lad was.”

Snowball sent two images of his “torso and genital area”, asked if she wanted to have sex and encouraged her to send images of her legs.

Mr Bunch said: “He expressed a wish she was two years older so they could have sex because it was too risky at her age.

“He asked if she would wish to meet up some time in Newcastle. He expressed disappointment about meeting in the city centre because they would not be able to engage in sexual activity.”

Snowball, of Redburn View, Bardon Mill, near Hexham, was given a three year community order, must complete a sex offenders’ treatment programme, has to sign the sex offenders’ register for five years, was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order and must pay £500 costs.

Judge Penny Moreland told him: “You made contact with a profile, the name of which was Louise, believing you were talking to a 14-year-old.

“You went on, over a day or two, to engage in sexual conversation with that profile, sending and soliciting sexual pictures.

“In fact you were dealing with somebody who had set up a fake profile in order to identify those engaged in sexual communication with underage profiles.”