A convicted sex offender was caught in a sting operation when he linked up with what he thought was a 14-year-old boy on the Grindr app, Lincoln Crown Court was told on Thursday.
Matthew Verity contacted the “boy” and, despite being told he was only 14, discussed what he would like to do sexually to the boy.
Stuart Lody, prosecuting, said that Verity asked for a naked photo of the boy and sent a picture of his own penis.
Verity went on to discuss meeting the boy and in May last year turned up at a McDonald’s expecting to see him. Instead he was confronted by police and arrested.
Mr Lody said: “A self-styled paedophile hunter, Myles Manning, had created a decoy account in the name of a 14-year-old called Carl Long.
“In a profile posted on Grindr, Carl stated he was 14. The defendant offered to drive over to where Carl lived and ‘have some fun’. They discussed meeting up in Corby.
“Myles Manning found out that the defendant lived in Stamford and went there. He said he was at McDonald’s. There was a confrontation. The police were called and the defendant was arrested.”
Mr Lody said that at the time of the incident Verity was under a sexual harm prevention order which banned him from contacting any child under the age of 16.
Verity, 41, of Edmonds Close, Stamford, admitted charges of attempting to meet a child following grooming; attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity; attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child; and attempting to breach a sexual harm prevention order. He was jailed for two years.
Michael Cranmer-Brown, in mitigation, told the court: “He is in a serious position not least because of his previous offending and the opportunities given to him previously.
“He does have significant mitigation in the fact that he has suffered from foetal alcohol syndrome throughout his life and from autism.
“This was not in fact a real child. No harm was done. Someone was pretending to be a child. No doubt he believed it was a child he was communicating with.”