A child groomer caught out by a paedophile “sting” group – after arranging to meet a schoolgirl in Wigan – has been spared an immediate jail term.
Umair Ayub travelled from his Rochdale home to meet what he believed to be a 15-year-old in the town, Bolton Crown Court was told.
But it emerged that the “girl” he had been communicating with via the internet was, in fact, the operators of an online sting operation and his messages were handed to police.
Ayub, of Hereford Street, pleaded guilty to attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity and of attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.
Prosecutors said that the “girl” he had communicated with was said to be aged 15 and he had arranged to meet up with his intended victim after chatting to her on the internet.
Defending, Charles Latchford said his client accepted he was at risk of jail, but offered “significant mitigating factors”, including playing a key role in caring for his parents, who had a number of health difficulties, including his wheelchair-bound father.
Judge Timothy Clayson gave him a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, imposed a sexual harm prevention order, restricting the defendant’s internet usage, and ordered him to sign the sex offenders’ register.
The orders each last for 10 years.
Ayub is just the latest offender to be caught out by an online sting group in the Wigan area,
Chris Ashford, a coach at Spring View cricket club, is currently awaiting sentence after confessing to inciting a 13-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity, after an operation by the Dark Light website.
And Grant Percival travelled down from Carlisle to meet what he thought was a 13-year-old girl at Leigh bus station.
He sent vile messages online to a youngster he knew as “Amy”, but was confronted at the terminus by members of another sting group.
Earlier this year, Greater Manchester Police revealed that they are considering working more closely with so-called ‘paedophile hunters’.