Bradley Masterson thought he was meeting up with a 13-year-old called Roxy but in fact he had been chatting online to Newcastle-based Dark Justice.
A court heard the communications between the 19-year-old and the fictional girl quickly became sexual and Masterson suggested they meet up.
An arrangement was made for them to meet at the Centre for Life, in Newcastle city centre, but when Masterson turned up Dark Justice and the police were lying in wait and he was arrested.
Now the teenager, never in trouble before and described as “immature”, has been given a suspended prison sentence at Newcastle Crown Court after he admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.
Prosecutor Alec Burns said Dark Justice had set up a profile on social media website tagged.com under the name Roxy.
The profile said Roxy was 18 but, as is common practice for the group, they then told Masterson she was in fact well below the age of consent.
Mr Burns said: “The communication did not go on for long before he asked to meet her.
“He asked her to send a photograph of herself when she was getting changed.
“They arranged to meet at the Centre for Life and the defendant was met by Dark Justice and the police arrested him.”
Masterson, of Bedford Street, North Shields , told the police the girl’s profile said she was 18 and said he only wanted to meet her as a friend but he was unable to explain why messages of a sexual nature had been sent, the court heard.
He pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming and was given 12 months in a young offender institution, suspended for two years with supervision. He must also sign the sex offenders register for 10 years and was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for five years.
Recorder Ben Nolan said Masterson had been “entrapped” into committing the offence.
The judge added: “Having said that, you responded to those messages and showed enthusiasm for committing the offence to those who sent you those messages, albeit there was never a child in existence in this case.
“You appear to have an unhealthy interest in young girls and you have got to get away from that.”
Tony Hawks, defending, said: “He is an immature 19-year-old, which goes without saying given the way he behaved.
“He comes from a respectable family and his mother is very upset about what happened.
“He has an offer of working on a fishing boat if he is allowed his liberty. He has done some work on a boat in North Shields.”
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