A 36-year-old man caught trying to groom a child has been allowed to walk free from court after a sheriff called him “very, very lucky.”
Graham Kirk was trapped by paedophile hunters and arrested when he complained to the police that he was being harassed by them.
Yesterday at Dundee Sheriff Court, Kirk was placed on supervision and the sex offenders register for three years.
He was banned from having contact with under-18s and ordered to stay away from children’s play parks as part of a wide-ranging conduct requirement.
Sheriff Tom Hughes told him: “You are very, very lucky to be avoiding a custodial sentence. These are very serious circumstances and this type of behaviour can never be condoned.”
However, he said he was noting a social work report which said Kirk had an “extremely difficult” background.
Kirk complained to officers members of a vigilante group had been pestering him over his bid to have sex with a 13-year-old girl.
When officers looked into his complaint they quickly realised Kirk had been trying to groom a child, unaware he was being duped by the group.
Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told the court a woman from the paedophile hunter group Maximum Exposure Scotland – posing as a child – was contacted by Kirk. Kirk knew of the supposed age difference but their conversations turned sexual in nature.
When the group confronted him by phone, he called police, stating he had been threatened but was arrested himself.
Kirk, of Ann Street, Dundee, admitted that between February 19 and March 2 last year he sent sexual messages.