Man's sex text shame costs him his home after he's snared by Guardians of the North

A man has been banned from unsupervised contact with kids after being snared by an online child sex protection group.
Norman Gibbs ouside courtNorman Gibbs ouside court
Norman Gibbs ouside court

Norman Gibbs, 49, used his mobile phone to contact and arrange to meet what he thought was a 15-year-old boy.

Over the course of an hour on the Grindr social networking app, he invited him to his then home for kisses, but, unknown to Gibbs, the boy did not exist.

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His false profile was planted by the Guardians of the North organisation to catch paedophiles. They tipped off police, who arrested Gibbs at his property in Arnold Street, Boldon Colliery.

At South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, Gibbs, who has lost his job and been forced to move due to attacks on his home, was made subject to a five-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Its terms include a ban on being left alone with any under 16-year-old or deleting his internet searches.

He must also not possess a device capable of accessing the internet without it being known to police.

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Gibbs, now of Saxon Way, Jarrow, was also given a 36-month community order with a 50-day rehabilitation activity requirement and put on a sex offender treatment programme.

He pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to attempting to cause a male aged 13 or over to engage in sexual activity, in May last year.

Lesley Burgess, prosecuting, said: “The Guardians of the North group set up a fake profile on Grindr.”

She said Gibbs had deleted the text chat from his phone before police seized it, but the Guardians had saved evidence.

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The court heard chat messages included Gibbs asking the boy where he was from and if he could find his way to his home.

One message from the boy read: “I’ve got to be honest with you, I’m 15, is that okay with you?”

Despite that, Gibbs invited him to come over and posted his address.

Janice Hall, defending, said it was a one-off incident, adding: “It is clear that Mr Gibbs was not seeking out young people or children.

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“He is using the Grindr app, which is for 18-year-olds. A conversation took place over one hour and it’s a decision that he regrets.

“It’s a request to kiss, no more serious an activity than that.”

She said Gibbs had been forced to sell his home at a loss in the wake of his arrest after it was attacked, with windows put out and graffiti sprayed.

His employer of 16 years had also asked him to resign and he is now jobless.

Gibbs was also fined £40 and ordered to pay £200 court costs and an £85 victim surcharge.