Pervert snared by paedophile hunters trying to meet teenage boy in pub car park
A barber who turned up to meet an underage boy for sex but was snared by paedophile hunters has been put behind bars.
Steven Knox, who had a sickening collection of child abuse images stored on his phone, thought he had been having illicit chat with a 15-year-old named Adam over gay dating site Grindr and arranged to meet in a pub car park.
But Newcastle Crown Court heard when the 45-year-old arrived to meet the child, at the New Crown in South Shields in December 2017, he was greeted by members of Dark Justice and Guardians of the North, who had set up the fake teen profile.
The groups, who pose as children online to snare adults looking for underage sex, alerted the police and Knox, who had used a fake name and age on the site, was arrested.
Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court when Knox's phone was examined, police found child abuse pictures and videos.
The court heard three videos were of the most serious category and a further four videos and four pictures were of the second most serious.
Mr Pallister added: "The age range of the children was between five and 15."
Knox, of Lord Street, South Shields, admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming and possessing indecent images.
Judge Penny Moreland sentenced him to 21 months behind bars with a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and 10 years on the sex offenders’ registration.
Judge Moreland said: "In the exchange you had with Adam, very quickly you sent the suggestion you and he should meet for penetrative sex to take place."
The judge said Knox had been under the influence of drink and cocaine at the time of the arranged meeting.
Judge Moreland added: "Only a custodial sentence in my view, is appropriate."
Paul Cross, defending, said Knox was in a "confused state" and "vulnerable himself" at the time of the offence due to drink and cocaine.
Mr Cross added: "He was going through a difficult time, really coming to terms with his own sexuality at a late stage in his life.”