A man was caught grooming what he thought was a 13-year-old girl because he reported to the police that he was being harassed by a group of paedophile hunters.
Graham Kirk, of Dundee, complained to officers that members of a vigilante group had been pestering him over his bid to have sex with the underage girl.
When officers looked into his complaint they quickly realised Kirk, 36, had been trying to groom a child for sexual contact – unaware he was being duped by the group.
Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told Dundee Sheriff Court: “Maximum Exposure Scotland is a group set up to expose paedophiles online by setting up accounts and posing as children. Skout is an app that allows people to exchange messages and photographs.
“Emily Henighan set up a fake profile as Alexis McDevlin and used a picture of herself from when she was 13.”
Within a day of being set-up, the fake schoolgirl was contacted by Kirk, who used his real name and later admitted to being “34, going to be 35” at the time.
“Alexis” told him she was 13 and was ‘looking for friends who were not horrible to her’.”
Kirk said he hoped she was not bothered by him being more than 20 years older than her.
The court was told Kirk gave his phone number and they moved the conversation on to WhatsApp, where he started to introduce sexual topics.
Miss Robertson said: “There was some general chat before it became extremely sexual in nature.
“He asked if she wanted to be his girlfriend, what age she would like to have sex, and asking her chest size.
“He said that if he lived closer he could come round and the conversation turned to meeting up. They made arrangements to meet in Dundee the following weekend.”
Members of Maximum Exposure set out to find Kirk on March 3 but he had given out-of-date addresses, so they tracked him down using the internet.
Miss Robertson added: “They contacted the accused’s number and asked if he was Graham Kirk and he confirmed he was. Asked about the communication, he denied any knowledge.
“The accused contacted the police, stating he had been receiving threatening calls from persons stating he was contacting underage girls.
“Officers went to his home address and he was arrested.”
Kirk, of Ann Street, Dundee, admitted that between February 19 and March 2 last year he sent sexual messages including a graphic picture to “Alexis McDevlin”.
Sheriff Tom Hughes deferred sentence for social work and Tay Project reports and Kirk’s details were added to the sex offenders register.
He was released on bail.