Man who thought he was meeting 14-year-old boy for sex was arrested after talking to a covert investigator
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A Harrogate paedophile was arrested after trying to meet a child for sex in a car park.
Paul Warren, 53, thought he was messaging a 14-year-old boy on an online app.
In fact, he was talking to a covert investigator from Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit as part of an operation to tackle child abuse.
Within minutes of starting the conversation, Warren suggested meeting in McDonald’s and they would drive to a carpark where they would engage in sexual activity.
An hour later, he arrived at his proposed meeting place, where he was immediately arrested by police. His car was located nearby.
Warren was charged with arranging to commit a child sex offence.
He pleaded guilty and yesterday he was sentenced by a judge at Teesside Crown Court to 16 months' imprisonment, suspended for 24 months.
He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register.
After the hearing, Detective Constable Kerri Jones, of North Yorkshire Police’s Online Abuse Team, said: “Warren’s intentions towards children were distressingly clear.
“He suggested a sexual encounter within minutes of starting a conversation and it was obvious from his actions that he had every intention of meeting a teenaged boy so he could sexually abuse him.
“The Online Abuse Team works proactively and sometimes covertly to identify those who pose a risk to children. And if we hadn’t apprehended Warren during this operation, it’s possible he could have engaged with a real child and carried out his plan.
"It’s reassuring to know one more sexual predator has been brought before the courts and dealt with.”