Published: 00:01, 10 November 2017
A Sheerness man who thought he was meeting a teenage schoolgirl he had been speaking to online has appeared in court after being confronted by paedophile hunters.
Paul Moore, of Queensway, Sheerness, arranged to meet a 13-year-old girl at Chatham Railway Station on Friday.
But instead the 33-year-old was confronted by members of the Protecting Kids Online UK group, who showed live footage of their meeting with him on their Facebook page and called police.
Moore was arrested at the station at 7.10pm and charged the following day with attempting to groom a girl under the age of 16.
He appeared before Medway magistrates this week and admitted the offence. He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on a date yet to be fixed.
Speaking after the hearing, Bailey Hunter, of Protecting Kids Online UK, said: “I was the decoy. I was the 13-year-old girl he was supposed to be meeting.
“I’ve been part of the group for about four weeks – we go online and we catch online predators.”
She added: “We put ourselves out there but we don’t add anyone as friends, they add us, they initiate the chats and it goes from there.
“They also initiate the meet and once it’s agreed, we go and sting them.
“A chat log is kept as evidence and we get them for online grooming.”
Ms Hunter said the meet with Moore on Friday was arranged for 7pm.
“As soon as the police arrived, we gave the evidence pack over to them and they arrested Paul. They were absolutely fantastic, I cannot thank them enough.”
However, Ms Hunter said her thoughts were now with Moore’s family.
“I just hope his family can move on from this,” she said. “It’s devastated the whole family, they’re innocent in all of this.
“He’s ruined so many lives.”
Ms Hunter said she decided to join the group after watching a number of stings online.
“It really does open your eyes,” she said. “It just shows it could be your brother, your dad, your uncle, your auntie – because there are female groomers too – it could be anyone.
“Parents need to make sure their children are so aware of what’s going on and they need to stay on top of what their children are doing – watching them constantly because it’s so easily done.
"I just hope his family can move on from this. It’s devastated the whole family, they’re innocent in all of this" - Bailey Hunter
“When a child is vulnerable they’re going to latch onto the first person who gives them attention.
“On this occasion, it wasn’t a real child involved, but it could have been quite easily.”
She added: “We want to warn parents of the dangers of online grooming.
“Groomers can get in touch with children through phone apps, phone games, Xbox consoles, PlayStations, social media, they’re everywhere – you really must keep your children safe.”
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