Watch the moment man who arranged to meet girls in Sunderland for sex is confronted by Guardians of the North

A man travelled almost 100 miles to Sunderland in a bid to meet a 15-year-old girl and her 14-year-old friend for sex.

Thursday, 2nd February 2017, 3:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd February 2017, 3:41 pm
Alexander Robertson

Alexander Robertson travelled from Leeds to a McDonald's restaurant in Sunderland after chatting to who he believed were two teenage girls online.

But the profiles on Facebook were fake accounts set up by Guardians of the North, a group which expose paedophiles and alert the police.

Alexander Robertson

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Newcastle Crown Court, sitting at Moot Hall, heard how the 58-year-old contacted "Chelsea" a 15-year-old girl from Sunderland, and asked her if she would go out with an older man and if she would meet him.

Michael Bunch, prosecuting, said: "When she asked what they would do, he said 'I'd love sex, have you had a bf?'"

Mr Bunch told the court how Chelsea was friends on Facebook with a 14-year-old girl called "Lauren" who Robertson also started messaging.

He said: "They talked about having sex and he said no one else should know.

Alexander Robertson

"Lauren told the defendant she was staying with the grandmother while her mother was on holiday.

"The defendant asked if she could get the keys for her mother's house so they could go there.

Mr Bunch told the court how he suggested they talked as a group and met up together.

On June 2 last year, the day they were due to meet, Robertson told them he was having problems with his car and might be unable to travel, before later telling Lauren he would be able to make it after all.

Mr Bunch said: "The defendant asked if they would do it all night."

When he arrived to meet the girls at a McDonald's restaurant in Sunderland, he was confronted by members of Guardians of the North who reported him to the police.

Mr Bunch said: "When interviewed by police he denied being the person in contact with Chelsea and Lauren.

"He said he had gone for a drive about with no destination in mind and called in to McDonald's for a bite to eat before heading back south."

Robertson, of Wyther Park Crescent, Leeds, admitted two counts of attempted grooming on the day of his trial.

Nicholas Cartmell, defending, how "no children were harmed" during these offences.

He said: "He's a man of effectively good character.

"He's pleaded guilty, he's very sorry.

"His actions were foolish, himself described them as a cry for help.

"There's been some assistance given and I'm sure there will be more to come.

"I submit that time served is time enough."

Judge Robert Adams told Robertson: "Clearly you intended to have sex with both of them.

"You were met by representatives of Guardians of the North. Police were contacted and you were arrested.

"You denied responsibility all together, stating you were driving around and had nothing to do with these fake accounts."

Judge Adams sentenced Robertson to 12 months in prison and told him he must abide by a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.

However, as Robertson has already served eight months in prison on remand, he was released immediately.