A 35-year-old man booked a Peterborough hotel room and brought alcohol, sex toys and a camera ahead of meeting a teenage girl.
However, a court heard, his plans were thwarted when the girl turned out to be an adult, who called police.
Scott Ambrose checked into the hotel on 7 August 2021.
He had started talking to the “girl” online a week beforehand and the conversation turned sexual, despite her making it clear she was only 15.
Ambrose travelled to Peterborough train station and booked a nearby hotel.
Things turned sour when he was instead met by a member of the public who made a citizen’s arrest and called police.
Police arrived and Ambrose, of Hallaton Road, Peterborough, was arrested.
His home, car and the hotel room were searched where police discovered the items showing intent to engage in sexual activity.
His phone was also seized, analysed and the chat log retrieved in full. It revealed he had sent photos of himself, a video discussing picking her up and taking her to the hotel room and even photos of the hotel room, before leaving to meet her.
In police interview, Ambrose declined to answer any questions, however, he later admitted charges of attempting to arrange the commission of a child sex offence and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.
Ambrose was sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court on Thursday (16 March), where he was jailed for two years and seven months.
He was also handed a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to monitor any future offending, and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for the same timeframe.
DC Neal Holdsworth, from the force’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT), said: “We do all we can to bring those to justice who use the internet in this way – to groom and try to meet children under 16.
“Phones and social media mean children can be vulnerable to those who prey on their innocence and exploit their trust. I would urge parents to speak to their children about online safety and consider exactly who they are communicating with.
“Protecting young people from harm is one of our top priorities and we will continue to work tirelessly to keep our communities safe.”
For more information and advice on child abuse visit the force’s dedicated web page.
Anyone who is concerned someone may have been convicted of a sex offence, and could be posing a risk to a child, can apply for disclosure information through the Sarah’s Law dedicated web page.
Anyone who looks out for the welfare of a child can make an enquiry. This can include parents, carers, guardians, extended family, friends, and neighbours.
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