July 2023

Man caught in a paedophile hunter sting escapes immediate jail sentence

A 59-year-old man who sent sexual message to someone who said she was 14 was caught by a paedophile hunter sting.

David Smout, now 62, who lives off the A49 main road through Dorrington, admitted charges of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, engaging in sexual activity when believing a child was present and possessing an extreme pornographic image.

He was given a 21 month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid work and 30 hours rehabilitation activity

Judge Peter Barrie also issued a sexual harm prevention order at Shrewsbury Crown Court on Monday .

Mr Philip Clemo, prosecuting said a person volunteering for the group, Keep Kids Safe, began engaging in messages with Smout online saying that she was a 14-year-old girl.

Smout’s messages were of a sexual nature, he said, despite several mentions that the ’14-year-old’ was a school or in lessons.

The messages carried on for 17 days before they were reported to the police.

Judge Peter Barrie said that if the person had been 14 the damage to her mental health would have been long lasting.