Sunderland man Neil Armstrong who used the alias 'Moon Man' on a dating app was snared by Dark Justice trying to talk to underage girl
A cleaner who got ‘carried away’ during internet sex chat with a fake underage girl has kept his freedom.
Neil Armstrong, 48, who used the online alias ‘Moon Man’, thought he was having an explicit online conversation with a 14-year-old child but had been duped by paedophile hunters Dark Justice.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the undercover organisation set up fake online profiles to snare adults looking for illegal contact with children.
In August last year, Armstrong made contact with a profile on the Blendr dating app and moved the conversation onto Whatsapp, despite being told he was talking to a 14-year-old, called Amy.
Prosecutor Neil Pallister told the court the conversation initially revolved around "clothes, school friends, music and that sort of thing" but Armstrong then made it "sexual" and started talking about having sex with her.
Mr Pallister said despite the tone of the chat, which spanned 12 days, no actual arrangement to meet was ever made but Dark Justice were so concerned about the conversations that they alerted the police.
Armstrong, of Fordenbridge Square, Sunderland, was arrested and admitted attempted sexual communication with a child.
Judge Jeremy Freedman sentenced him to a community order for two years with rehabilitation requirements.
Armstrong must sign the sex offenders register and abide by the terms of a sexual harm prevention order for five years.
The judge told him: "You clearly got carried away engaging in this conversation on the internet.
"I am prepared to accept you would not have done anything about this conversation in the sense you would not have met the person you thought was Amy, far less engaged in a sexual relationship with her.
"Nevertheless, the content of the conversation was sexual and highly inappropriate."
Judge Freedman said Armstrong was a man who needed some assistance but added: "I am satisfied it was never going to go beyond an inappropriate conversation."
Jamie Adams, defending, said Armstrong lost his job as a cleaner as a result of the conviction and has never been in trouble before.