AN internet paedophile was snared after a worried mum posed as an underage schoolgirl online.
The woman pretended to be a 13-year-old called “sweet as candy” and engaged in internet chats with Lee Crabtree, who had been targeting young girls.
Because of her undercover actions, Crabtree was tracked down by detectives and arrested.
At Newcastle Crown Court yesterday the 27-year-old pleaded guilty to four charges of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and two of attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.
Crabtree, of Felton Avenue, South Shields, was warned by the judge that he was likely to go to prison, after being told that “an immediate custodial sentence is almost inevitable.”
The offences relate to a total of four underage girls.
Crabtree, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, had faced two charges in relation to “sweet as candy” but they were dropped after he admitted the other offences.
Prosecutor Amanda Rippon said: “The two counts are the mother, who was pretending to be her daughter.
“It is how he was discovered effectively.
“The prosecution say he did communicate with ‘sweet as candy’ but it was the mother and that is how he was found.”
Judge Paul Sloan QC adjourned the case until March 10 so Crabtree can be assessed for a probation report and personal statements can be taken from his victims.
Crabtree was granted bail in the meantime.
Judge Sloan warned him: “The fact I am adjourning sentence and directing the preparation of a report is not an indication of sentence.
“You will appreciate, an immediate custodial sentence is almost inevitable in the circumstances of this case.”
Crabtree was ordered to sign the sex offenders register before he left court.
He must abide by strict bail conditions until his next court appearance.