Asda worker snared by Dark Justice after sending picture in supermarket uniform to 'girl' during online chat
An Asda worker was tracked down by paedophile hunters after he sent a picture of himself wearing the supermarket uniform during an illegal online chat.
Edward Armstrong thought he was talking to a 13-year-old girl named ‘Amy’ when he sent the photograph during sexual conversations.
The 59-year-old had asked for indecent images of the child, said he "wanted to see her naked body" and talked about sexual contact but told her "no sex until 16" during the chats in August 2017.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the teen's profile had been set up by member of Dark Justice, an undercover organisation whose members pose as children to snare adults seeking illegal contact.
As a result of the sexual content of Armstrong's messages, Dark Justice operatives who set up the sting probed him about his work during the chat, turned up there and then followed him home so his address could be passed to the police.
Armstrong, of Portsmouth Square, Pennywell, Sunderland, admitted attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.
A member of Dark Justice said: "During the conversations we couldn't find any other information about this guy other than that he was called Eddie and worked at the Asda factory in Washington.
"We knew his work pattern, as a result of the conversations, and so attended the location and waited for a shift change and spotted him.
"He got into a car so we followed the car back to his address in Sunderland.
"That was the only was we could ensure that we found out exactly who he was so we could inform the police."
Mr recorder Tom Little QC sentenced Armstrong to a community order for two years with rehabilitation requirements.
He must sign the sex offenders register and abide by the terms of a sexual harm prevention order for five years.
The judge said: "This is one of many sting type operations undertaken by various groups and in this case you were subjected to one of those sting operations.
"A fake profile in the name of Amy was established on the internet on a site called Qeep.
"On August 7 2017 you added Amy as one of your contacts. You became aware at an early stage Amy was purporting to be 13 years of age.
"You asked to chat with her on Kik app and you provided your mobile phone number.
"You made sexual remarks referring to pornography, requested indecent images of her but none were sent to you by her.
"You said you wanted to see her naked body, made various comments about sexual contact though you did say 'no sex until 16'.
"These were serious and significant sexual communications.
"You sent her a picture of yourself in your Asda uniform and as a result those who set up the operation were able to track you down and identify you on in October 2017 at the Asda where you worked.
"They followed you home and the police were informed."
The judge said Armstrong came "close to" a custodial sentence but was entitled to credit for pleading guilty and for the two years he had had to wait to see if he would be prosecuted and for the case to be concluded.