A pervert who tried to meet a child for a "cheeky kiss" after chatting to her online for just two-and-a-half hours was snared by paedophile hunters.
Kevin Tomlinson turned up to to an illegal city-centre rendevouz with a 15-year-old in June after telling her "we might end up in bed together".
But Newcastle Crown Court heard the 37-year-old had been duped by Dark Justice and their counterparts Guardians of the North, groups who had been working together to engage in online conversations and snare adults looking for underage sex.
When Tomlinson turned up for the half-past midnight meeting at a Subway sandwich shop in Sunderland, he was confronted by the hunters, who had alerted the police.
Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told the court: "Within two-and-a-half hours of the internet chat beginning, the defendant arranged to meet her at half past midnight, at a local Subway shop in Sunderland.
"He told her his correct age, that he was 37. He found out she lived in Sunderland and found out she would be on her own for a few hours.
"She said she could come to his for a cheeky kiss and see what happens. He said 'maybe we might end up in bed'."
The court heard Tomlinson has no previous convictions for sexual offending but was the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order imposed after he was cautioned by police in 2013.
The caution was for the indecent assault of a girl, aged between three and six, which happened in the 1990s, when Tomlinson was a teenager. .
Judge Robert Adams sentenced Tomlinson to nine months behind bars, suspended for two years, with programme requirements, a ten year sexual harm prevention
order and ten years on the sex offenders register.
The court heard probation officials have assessed Tomlinson as posing a "medium risk of harm to children, particularly when under the influence of alcohol".
The judge said a suspended jail term was appropriate to allow professional intervention and told Tomlinson : "You are best served, and particularly, more importantly, the public is best served by seeking to deal with your difficulties in a more comprehensive fashion."
The court heard Tomlinson, of The Royalty, Sunderland, who worked in the food and drinks industry, lost his job as a result of his arrest.
He pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child after grooming.
Sue Hirst, defending said Tomlinson was "lonely and looking for adult company" when he engaged in the chat, after he had been drinking.
Miss Hirst said Tomlinson has realised that alcohol has caused problems in his life and sought help since his arrest.
She added: "He is a man who won't come back before the courts."
After the hearing, the paedophile hunters slammed the "weak" sentence and said community based penalties send out the wrong message to potential offenders.
A spokesperson said: "We truly think this is an attack on us and it is putting children's safety at risk.
"The justice system needs reform and if nothing changes we will end up with riots in the streets."