dward Salt, who was already a convicted sex offender, thought he was chatting to three girls, all aged 13 and under, on social media sites but had been duped by Dark Justice and Guardians of the North.
Instead of the young teen members of the groups were waiting for Salt at the arranged meeting place where he told them: ‘I can’t help it. It’s the way I am.’
Paedophile hunters pose as children online to expose adults looking for illegal contact with potential victims.
During the conversations, the 27-year-old talked about fetishes, which included references to urination and defecation, and sent a picture of his exposed private parts.
Prosecutor Mark Guiliani told Newcastle Crown Court the content of the graphic conversations was ‘vulgar’.
Salt, of Dunholme Road, Newcastle, admitted three offences of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and one of attempting to meet a child after grooming
He was sentenced to 30 months in prison with a lifelong sexual harm prevention order and put on the sex offenders register.
Judge Tim Gittins told him: ‘You were seeking out young children, females in particular, for the purposes of your sexual gratification.
‘Your real purpose in contacting them wasn’t to engage with children but to engage in discussion in relation to fetish and scatological behaviour.’
Judge Gittins said Salt engaged in the conversations despite ‘repeated references’ to the tender age of the girls on the profiles.
The judge told him: ‘The three separate profiles you believed to be children under the age of 16, in fact were being operated by members of the groups