A pervert who turned up to an illegal seafront meeting a 14-year-old boy was confronted by paedophile hunters.
Kevin Golden believed he had been sending sexually explicit messages to an underage lad, who was forty years younger than him, over adult gay dating site Grindr.
But Newcastle Crown Court heard the 54-year-old had been duped by online volunteer group Guardians of the North, who trawl the internet searching
for paedophile activity.
During a series of shocking conversations over a two week period, Golden embarked on graphic chats and asked if the boy would engage in various sex
He asked if the youth for naked photographs and discussed the boy engaging in activity with a lad his own age, boasting he could "get him one".
When Golden arrived to meet the boy at the seafront in Sunderland, two member of Guardians of the North were waiting.
Prosecutor Anne Richardson told the court: "The police arrived and arrested the defendant.
"He voluntarily handed over his mobile phone, saying 'it was a silly thing to do' and 'I know I have done wrong'.
"He later repeated he had done wrong."
Golden, of Hertburn Gardens Concord, Washington, dismissed his claim of being able to get another boy involved as "fantasy" when he was questioned.
He pleaded guilty to attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and attempting to meet a child after sexual grooming.
Judge Robert Spragg sentenced Golden, who has spent two months behind bars on remand and appeared at the hearing via video link to HMP Durham, to a
community order for three years, with programme requirements.
Golden must abide by a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for ten years and sign the Sex Offenders Register for five years.
The judge told him: "You have spent two months in custody, you are now well aware of what that entails and I have no doubt it has been an unpleasant experience for you.
"The public are likely to be better protected in the long term by you receiving treatment."
Jamie Adams, defending, said Golden is a "solitary" man who has not been in a relationship for years and added: "He was on an adult chatline in the first place and there he stayed.
"He was not looking for this kind of thing.
"He does not habitually do this kind of thing."
The court heard Golden is embarrassed and ashamed by his actions and worried about the impact his offending will have on his employment and family.
Mr Adams said the case "comes as close to entrapment as you will get".