Gordon Beck thought he was arranging a late-night meeting with a child when he was in fact talking to undercover organisations – Dark Justice and Guardians of the North.
When he turned up for the rendezvous close to his South Shields home, members of the groups confronted him with cameras.
He was challenged about the sexual nature of the conversations, which included mention of condoms, but dismissed the vile chat as ‘just a laugh’ as he puffed on a cigarette.
He admitted two counts of attempting the engage in sexual communication with a child at Newcastle Crown Court last month.
Beck was given a nine-month jail sentence suspended for 24 months for last summer’s offence.
A Dark Justice spokesperson said: ‘This sentence is nowhere near harsh enough. He should have been locked up. It’s as simple as that. Next time he could arrange to meet an actual child and ruin a life forever.
‘He had been speaking to a number of profiles on the social media app Qeep for around a month and a half.