A GRANDFATHER was found with a sickening horde of restraints and alcohol in his car as he waited to meet a ‘13-year-old girl’ for sex.
Brian Pepper, 65, of Homer Close, Gosport, admitted attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard Pepper was snared following a covert online operation by police officers working in the Internet Child Abuse Team and the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit, who set up a fake online profile of a schoolgirl following complaints from parents about him contacting their daughters.
Pepper believed he had been talking to a 13-year-old girl over three weeks between September and October last year.
He repeatedly asked the girl to meet up with him until they eventually arranged to meet at Burger King, in Havant, on October 14.
He had booked a hotel in Arundel, 20 miles away.
Instead he was met by police officers who found the sickening stash of sado-masochistic restraints - including ropes, cords and belts - vodka and wine in a holdall in the footwell of the car.
He has been sentenced to four years for incitement and 12 months, to run concurrently for attempting to meet a child for sexual grooming.
Pepper is also subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and will be on the sex Offenders Register for life.
Investigating officer Detective Inspector Gary Towse said: ‘This type of online activity initially targets vulnerable and underage victims, often in their own homes, due to the use of social media websites.
‘It then escalates to face to face meetings which can have even more devastating consequences for the victims.
‘While Pepper admitted his offences, many people still think they can hide behind a veil of anonymity or false identity online in an attempt to commit offences like these.
‘Today’s sentence sends a clear message that they can’t hide, and we will continue to use all of the resources available to us to conduct investigations like this.
‘I’m pleased that the court recognised the seriousness of the offences and reflected this in the sentence imposed on Pepper.’