A paedophile from Great Yarmouth who tried to meet a decoy schoolgirl and was caught trying to have sex with another fictitious child by an online hunter group has been jailed.

Simon Benterman booked a train ticket and a room in a hotel in Cambridge and had with him a sex toy, a G-string and condoms when he was met by members of a paedophile hunter group who called the police, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Jailing 51-year-old Benterman for 33 months, Judge Martyn Levett said: “The confrontation was live streamed on The Ghost Facebook team page, and you immediately admitted talking to a 13-year-old online and that you knew it was wrong because you would have engaged in sex with her.”

Judge Levett said that after being arrested and interviewed by police Benterman was released on police bail.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Benterman, of Great Yarmouth, had no shirt on when his custody picture was takenBenterman, of Great Yarmouth, had no shirt on when his custody picture was taken (Image: Suffolk police)

He added: “For reasons which I am at a loss to understand, in November 2021 you were told by the police that you were released from your obligations under bail, and it wasn’t until 14 months later on January 25 this year that you were sent a postal requisition to appear in court the next month.

“Others will judge whether that was a sensible police decision having been caught red-handed with all the equipment for protected sex with a 13-year-old and admitting what you would have done, rather than charge you with the offence, during that 14-month period of waiting having been discharged from the bail conditions, temptation caused you to commit further offences.

“This time exactly the same method of entering another conversation with a member of the paedophile hunter group posing as a decoy child occurred.

“In common with many other entrenched paedophiles, you cannot steer away from contacting young children. Your interest is close to becoming entrenched and your behaviour was corrupt and devoid of any sense of self control."

The court heard that before travelling to Cambridge in August 2021 Benterman had chatted online to a decoy posing as a 13-year-old girl and had sent her a naked picture of himself.

In August last year Benterman chatted online to another decoy posing as a 13-year-old schoolgirl in Ipswich and sent a naked picture of himself and his address which resulted in members of a paedophile hunter group confronting him outside his home and the police being called.

Benterman, of Apsley Road, Great Yarmouth, admitted attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity, attempting to meet a child following grooming, attempting to facilitate a child sex offence and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

In addition to being jailed, he was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for ten years and ordered to sign the sex offenders register indefinitely.

Andrew Thompson, for Benterman, described his client as naive and a simple man who was lonely and found it easier to make friends online.