A Lincolnshire paedophile caught by a group of vigilantes has been jailed for six years at Lincoln Crown Court for a number of sexual offences against young girls.
Paul Anthony Middleton, 54, was arrested on May 15 after having been snared by paedophile hunters Dark Justice.
An undercover journalist from the group had set up a profile of a 13-year-old girl to whom Middleton had been talking to in a sexual manner, requesting indecent images, encouraging her to engage in sexual activity, and attempting to meet for sex.
During a police interview, Middleton admitted the offences and stated that he had talked to a number of underage girls in that manner: sending indecent videos and images of himself, requesting indecent images of the girls, requesting them to send videos to him, and attempting to arrange to meet for sex.
He also admitted to the fact that he had indecent images of children on his phones and had distributed the images to other users on a social network site.
Middleton, a tree surgeon from Stamford, admitted 13 offences including attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming; inciting a child aged 13 years to engage in sexual activity; making indecent images of children and distribution of indecent images of children.
He was sentenced to six years in prison on Monday, November 30, and also sentenced to remain on licence for four years after that prison term.
DC Nicky Linn, of Lincolnshire Police’s Internet Child Abuse Team (iCAT) said: “I’m pleased with the lengthy sentence given to Middleton. He is a dangerous and predatory paedophile who, amazingly, has shown no remorse for what he has done.
“While as police officers we try and dissuade vigilante groups from taking any kind of direct action – mainly because it could put people’s personal safety at risk or even jeopardise a police investigation – we are grateful to the group involved in this instance for bringing Middleton to our attention. It certainly helped give us a good foundation on which to investigate his offending.
“I have to commend the bravery of the victims in this case and hope that today’s sentencing helps them start to put behind them a very difficult and distressing part of their lives.”