A north-east pervert snared by a vigilante group posing as a 14-year-old girl has avoided jail because he wasn’t talking to a real child.
Barrie Robertson contacted what he thought was a 14-year-old girl called “Sky” on social media, but who was actually a member of a paedophile-hunting vigilante group.
He was snared in a sting last September by Child Protectors Scotland.
Over a period of four days, Robertson sent sexual messages to “Sky”, and even asked her to send him images of her naked.
The 37-year-old also sent her a sexual image of male genitals.
He admitted attempting to communicate indecently with a child, by sending a person pretending to be a 14-year-old child sexual messages and requesting sexual images of them.
And Robertson also admitted a second charge of attempting to cause a child to view a sexual image, by sending the person pretending to be a “Sky” an image of male genitals.
The offences took place between September 22 and 25 last year.
And Robertson also admitted a further offence of failing to provide police with certain information within a period of three days, part of the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act.
Yesterday Robertson appeared in the dock at Aberdeen Sheriff Court to be sentenced over the matter.
Defence agent Dylan Middleton said an increase is his client’s offending coincided with Robertson’s “increased struggle with his alcoholism”.
He said Robertson suffered an “overwhelming feeling of shame” in relation to the offences.
Mr Middleton said his client was “unsure whether the person he was speaking to was in fact 14”, but accepted his behaviour was “completely unacceptable”.
Sheriff Philip Mann told Robertson, of Foudland Crescent in Insch: “There’s no doubt these are serious offences.
“I have to take into account the person who was on the receiving end of your communications was not actually a 14-year-old girl.
“I don’t think any psychological trauma will have been caused. If it had been a 14-year-old girl I don’t think I would have hesitated in sending you to custody.”
He ordered Robertson to be supervised for two years and made him subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act for the same period.
The sheriff also imposed a number of conduct requirements related to his use of electronic devices and alcohol problem.
Fiscal depute Susan Love previously narrated a string of sickening messages Robertson sent to “Sky”.
The court heard Robertson later told police he was an “alcoholic” and “does not know the difference between right and wrong when he is intoxicated”.
He also stated he was not attracted to children.