Pervert who travelled 150 miles for sex with 'Amy, 14' snared by Dark Justice

Robert Crombie was arrested at Gallowgate bus station. Pic: Google Maps.
Robert Crombie was arrested at Gallowgate bus station. Pic: Google Maps.
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A pervert who travelled 150 miles to have sex with an under-age schoolgirl has been put behind bars after snared by online paedophile hunters.

Robert Crombie believed he had arranged to meet a 14-year-old girl called Amy who he had been chatting to over the internet and sending explicit messages to.

But Newcastle Crown Court heard that when the 26-year-old got off the bus from Glasgow to Newcastle last May, with condoms in his bag, he was confronted by members of Dark Justice, who had already alerted the police.

Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court: "He was arrested as a result of the actions of voluntary group Dark Justice, who seek to expose grooming of young people on the internet, through social media, with profiles purporting to be teenage girls."

Crombie, of Clyde Place, Glasgow, initially told police the illicit messages, and an obscene personal picture, must have been sent to the girl by someone else, but he later admitted attempting to meet a child after sexual grooming.

Judge Robert Adams jailed him for 12 months and imposed a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order he must abide by.

Crombie, who appeared to be in tears as the prison sentence was passed, must sign the Sex Offenders' Register for 10 years.

Judge Adams told him: "You were found to be in possession of condoms, clearly indicating what your intention was, had Amy the 14-year-old actually existed.

"Dark Justice, of course, were waiting for you when you arrived at the bus station, recognised you from your pictures, the police were informed and you were arrested."

The court heard Crombie had contacted the girl over social media last March and they soon exchanged phone numbers and started messaging on Whatsapp.

Crombie, who claimed to be three years younger than his true age during the chats, sent the girl pictures of his face and an obscene one of a personal nature.

Mr Wardlaw added: "He invited her to reciprocate by sending naked images, images of her in a thong and in school uniform.

"He asked 'would you like to have sex?' and made further requests to see her naked body."

The court heard Crombie agreed to travel from Scotland to see the girl in Newcastle on May 25 because she said her parents were away.

Mr Wardlaw said: "On being made aware of the travel arrangements, members of Dark Justice attended Gallowgate bus station at 1.45pm and recognised him as he got off the bus from Glasgow.

"The police were notified, the defendant arrested and he was seen to be in possession of condoms on arrest.

"He travelled some distance in order to meet what he believed was a 14-year-old girl."

At the time of his arrest, Crombie was on a suspended prison sentence imposed by Cambridgeshire Magistrates for theft of a former girlfriend's mobile phone.

He has a previous conviction for making a false representation in relation to obtaining £5,000 from same woman's late grandmother's bank account.

Kieran O'Neill, defending, said Crombie suffers from learning difficulties, left school without qualifications and was vulnerable, living in a homeless hostel at time.

Mr O'Neill said: "He was a loner who had access to a computer. He had condoms with him, he was going to meet her.

"Whether or not he would have gone through with the offence, we will never know. He shows great remorse."

Mr O'Neill urged the court to suspend the inevitable prison sentence so Crombie could receive counselling and treatment.

Judge Adams said Crombie's difficulties could in no way justify his behaviour, and added: "I would be failing in my public duty if it was suspended."

Dark Justice are a North East-based vigilante group who pose as under-age girls on-line to snare paedophiles.

Men expecting to meet young girls are instead faced with members of the group, who film the encounters and alert the police.

They have so far secured at least 17 convictions and seen at least 10 men jailed for their crimes.