Man snared by vigilante paedophile hunters avoids jail
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
A man snared in a sting operation by a group of vigilante paedophile hunters has been handed a suspended sentence by a judge.
Tasir Mohammadi, 39, thought he was communicating with a 13-year-old boy called 'Adam' but the teenager was instead a decoy created by an online vigilante group.
Mohammadi, of London Road, Beccles, first began communicating with 'Adam' in November 2018, Peter Clark, prosecuting, told Ipswich Crown Court.
The pair began talking on a chat application before exchanging phone numbers and then communicating via Whatsapp, Mr Clark said.
'Adam' told Mohammadi he was just 13 and made references to school and homework, the court heard.
Mohammadi told the decoy he was 30 - seven years younger than he was at the time of the offences - and that he ran a car wash business.
The court heard that Mohammadi sent sexual pictures and one video to the decoy, who he believed lived in Scotland, and tried to arrange a meeting in December 2019.
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He also revealed his full postal address to the decoy after 'Adam' said he wished to send him a Christmas card.
Information was eventually passed to the police in March 2019 and Mohammadi was arrested.
He gave a "no comment" interview and was charged with attempted sexual communication with a child and attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act in June 2020.
Mohammadi, who had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to both charges on November 3 last year.
Andrew Thompson, mitigating, said Mohammadi is a single man whose car wash business had been "significantly hit" by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Thompson said Mohammadi had exchanged the messages while drunk, and had issues with alcohol.
Sentencing Mohammadi on Thursday, Judge Rupert Overbury said: "Before this offence, you were someone of good character, you have now lost that good character and you will be, for a number of years, a registered sex offender.
"That in itself will be some punishment because together with a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO), your freedom and liberty will be restricted.
"You groomed the subject at the other end of Whatsapp but it wasn't very sophisticated because you posted your own picture and at Christmas time gave your own address."
Judge Overbury sentenced Mohammadi to 12 months' imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered him to undertake 180 hours of unpaid work and complete up to 40 Rehabilitation Activity days as well as the Maps for Change programme.
Mohammadi was also handed a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and must also sign the sex offenders' register for 10 years.