A man exposed by a paedophile hunter group as he tried to meet a child for sex has been spared a jail sentence.
Colin Peter had arranged to meet who he thought was a 12-year-old girl at Kirkcaldy rail station but was instead confronted by the vigilante group Groom Resisters Scotland.
At the town’s sheriff court he was placed on the sex offenders register and given a community payback order, both for three years.
The court previously heard Peter, 54, repeatedly sent sexual messages to an online profile he believed was that of a girl, but was in fact a member of the group.
Unemployed Peter, of Kennoway Road in Windygates, walked into the sting, which was live-streamed on social media, when he arrived at the transport hub on July 29 last year.
He pled guilty to sending sexual communications to a person believed to be a child under the age of 13 from his former home in Haughgate Street, Leven, and attempting to meet a young girl with the intention of engaging in unlawful sexual activity.
Sheriff James Williamson said he believed the public would be better protected by a stringent community-based sentence.
Peter’s order bans him from unauthorised contact with children, restricts his use of internet-connected devices and requires approval of his accommodation and any employment.
Given the nature of his offences and previous offences committed in the 1980s and 1990s, the judge had requested background reports at an earlier hearing.
Defence solicitor Kerr Sneddon said Peter has a learning disability and has not offended since 1994.
Sheriff Williamson said it was “fortunate” for him that there was such a lengthy gap.
He said: “Given your background I’m prepared to deal with you by way of a community payback order of three years.
“You will have no contact with children under the age of 16, unless that contact has been approved by your supervising officer.”