Blackpool paedophile spared jail after arranging to meet child for “kiss and cuddle” on Prom

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A Blackpool man who was stung by ‘peadophile hunters’ has been spared jail after being charged with child sex offences.

 

Michael Wagstaffe, 53, thought he was talking to a 14-year-old girl online when he told her to strip and send nude pictures of herself to him.

On Wednesday (August 11), Blackpool Magistrates heard how he then arranged to meet the youngster on the Prom for “a kiss and cuddle”.

But Wagstaffe was unaware the girl he was grooming was in fact a ‘decoy’ – an adult posing as a child on behalf of anti-paedophile group Fleetwood Enforcers UK.

Michael Wagstaffe, 53, from Lytham Road, South Shore, arranged to meet what he thought was a 14-year-old girl on the Prom for "a kiss and cuddle". But Wagstaffe was unaware the girl he was grooming was in fact a 'decoy' - an adult posing as a child on behalf of an anti-paedophile group

Michael Wagstaffe, 53, from Lytham Road, South Shore, arranged to meet what he thought was a 14-year-old girl on the Prom for “a kiss and cuddle”. But Wagstaffe was unaware the girl he was grooming was in fact a ‘decoy’ – an adult posing as a child on behalf of an anti-paedophile group

After arranging to meet up with his young victim, Wagstaffe was confronted by the vigilante child protection group outside his home in Lytham Road, South Shore.

The encounter was filmed and broadcast live on Facebook, where hundreds of people watched him interrogated by the group before police arrived at the scene.

He was arrested and taken into custody where he admitted to officers that he had arranged to meet a child for sex.

The court heard that during his police interview, Wagstaffe told officers he would “watch young girls in school uniform”.

He pleaded guilty to arranging to meet a 14 -year-old for sex and a second charge of attempting to engage in sexual activity .

Stacey Morrow, prosecuting, said that Wagstaffe used the alias Mike Williams when he was prowling social media for potential victims.

Defence lawyer Gary McAnulty, said Wagstaffe could safely be monitored under the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

In defence of his client’s actions, he added: “At their height these offences amount to asking who he thought was a girl to meet him on the Promenade.”

Wagstaffe was handed a one year jail term suspended for two years and was ordered to pay £241 costs .

He has also been put on a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for seven years.

Teenage girl sexually assaulted after group of men harass youngsters on Blackpoo…

Figures released by Lancashire Police earlier this year revealed that nearly half of all child grooming convictions in the county involved stings by paedophile hunting groups.

Of the 51 grooming offences investigated by the force, which led to charges between 2019 and 2020, a total of 22 involved intelligence provided by such groups.