Man who travelled 272 miles to meet teen convicted of child sex offences

Michael Stacey, from Great Yarmouth, travelled 272 miles to Sunderland meet a 13-year-old girl he had been talking to online.

Michael Stacey, from Great Yarmouth, travelled 272 miles to meet a 13-year-old girl he had been talking to online. - Credit: Northumbria Police

A man from Great Yarmouth who travelled more than 272 miles to meet a child for sex has been arrested, charged and convicted – all within 24 hours.

Michael Stacey, of York Road in Great Yarmouth, made the 272 mile trip from his hometown to Sunderland on Tuesday, October 26 to meet a 13-year-old girl he had been talking to online.

The girl was in fact a law enforcement operative based within the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) who immediately contacted detectives from Northumbria Police.

The following day, Stacey headed to the meeting point he had arranged with the teenager but was intercepted by officers from Northumbria Police who arrested him and took him into custody.

Detectives from Northumbria police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team interviewed Stacey, who was charged several hours later and, on Wednesday, October 27 appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

In court, Stacey admitted arranging a child sex offence and engaging in sexual communication with a child.

The Great Yarmouth man is now due to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court on November 25.

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Detective Sergeant Rob Smoult, from Northumbria's Paedophile Online Investigation Team, said: “We will protect children in any way we can from dangerous men like Stacey.

“It is very clear what his intentions and motivations were and his deplorable actions speak for themselves.

“Stacey set out on a long journey across the country to meet a girl he knew was underage for his own sexual gratification and thanks to thorough but swift investigation, he was put before the courts and convicted within 24 hours of attempting to meet a child.

“These offences are incredibly serious and can destroy the lives of vulnerable victims and their families, as well as the families of those who are caught offending.

“We will continue to work with our partners at NERSOU to tackle online child abuse and sexual exploitation and would urge anyone who has been a victim of this type of offending, or has concerns about someone’s behaviour, to come forward and talk to us.”