A paedophile pensioner who was snared by two vigilante groups faces a lengthy prison sentence after he was caught sending vile messages to children on a secret mobile phone.
Former Dundee bus driver Ronald Young was jailed in 2017 for sending explicit texts to what he thought was a 13-year-old girl.
He travelled 200 miles from his home to meet the youngster on Tyneside.
When he arrived in Newcastle, he was confronted by members of a paedophile hunter gang who explained they had been posing as the schoolgirl online.
The court heard he kept two phones hidden at his home in Toll Crescent, Forfar and used them to send sick messages to children on chatrooms.
Sheriff Gregor Murray told Young it was the fourth time he had breached the order.
He said: “Given your previous convictions, only a significant custodial sentence would reflect the gravity of this offence.”
Fiscal depute Charmaine Gilmartin said: “On the March 27 2017, the accused was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court.
“He was also made the subject of a Sex Offences Prevention Order for a period of 10 years.”
The court heard that as part of the restrictions, he cannot own a device that connects to the internet – unless it is regularly checked by police – and he must not have contact with anyone under 16, without consent.
“Following his conviction, the accused returned to live in the Angus area.”
Young called police on July 20, 2020 and told them he had bought a new mobile that had access to the internet.
Officers visited his phone and checked the device but found nothing illegal.
Weeks later, Young texted the police’s sex offenders’ unit and said he had lost his phone.
He explained he had bought a new Sim card and put it in an old Nokia mobile.
An unannounced visit was carried out by police on March 10.
“The accused appeared very nervous,” the fiscal depute said.
“The accused was asked if he had any internet-enabled devices and he said he did not.
“He showed officers the old-style Nokia, which could not access the internet.”
Ms Gilmartin said: “He then went into great detail about how he had lost his other phone and how he had searched for it but could not find it.
“Officers were immediately suspicious about why the accused was providing such an in-depth explanation into losing his phone.”
Two days later, one officer called the missing device and found that it was still switched on and ringing.
Police armed with a search warrant raided Young’s home on April 27.
“Officers repeatedly knocked on the door and after some time access was granted,” said Ms Gilmartin.
“The accused was found to be home alone.
“After being told about the circumstances for the search warrant, the accused immediately walked into the bedroom and reached underneath his mattress.
“He handed officers the phone he had claimed to have lost.
“He said he had been embarrassed because he had lost money on Bitcoin.”
Young was arrested and taken into custody.
En route to the cells, he confessed he had another mobile phone he had been using to access chat rooms and speak to children.
“The second phone was recovered and examined,” said Ms Gilmartin.
“Officers found evidence that the accused had been accessing chatrooms designed to be used by children and had sent messages to other users that he knew were – or believed to be – under 16.”
The court heard that he visited sites such as “Kids Chat” and “Teen Chat”.
“Some of the messages he was sending involved sexually explicit content,” the fiscal depute said.
Young, listed as a prisoner in Perth, admitted breaching the Sexual Offences Prevention Order issued by Newcastle Crown Court by being in possession of mobile phones that connected to the internet, which he claimed to be lost, and repeatedly using the internet to contact or attempted to contact under 16s, between March 10 and April 17, last year.
He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on April 1.