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Online child sex offender was snared by vigilantes

Carlisle Crown Court

A MAN who engaged two people he thought were 13-year-old girls in lewd sexual online chat has been sentenced by a judge.

Carlisle Crown Court heard how Steven William Hodgson was snared by members of two vigilante groups. Members posed on a social networking site as 13-year-old girls and announced those ages as he initiated chat. But during March this year, the 48-year-old laundry worker engaged the pair in graphic sexual conversation.

He was confronted at his parents’ Cleator Moor home by the vigilantes, who live-streamed their encounter before police attended.

Hodgson, now of Brewery Street, Barrow, had been forced to move out of their house, had taken responsibility for the offences and expressed genuine remorse and regret.

A man with no previous convictions, he admitted two offences of attempted sexual communication with a child.

Recorder Ciaran Rankin imposed a three-year community order today (WED). Hodgson must abide by the terms of a sexual harm prevention order indefinitely, sign the sex offenders’ register for five years and complete a treatment course and rehabilitation.

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