Police worker, 50, snared by paedophile hunters is spared prisonFebruary 1, 2019
Police worker, 50, snared by paedophile hunters posing as a 13-year-old girl after he sent them ‘abhorrent’ sex videos is spared prison
- Andrew Grimsted, 50, worked at Hampshire Police as a resources co-ordinator
- He sent explicit messages and videos to what he thought was a 13-year-old girl
- However, he was later snared by paedophile hunters who were posing as the girl
- Despite the messages and videos, Grimsted managed to avoid going to prison
A police worker has been spared prison after he sent ‘abhorrent’ sex videos to paedophile hunters posing as a 13-year-old girl online.
Andrew Grimsted, 50, a resources co-ordinator at Hampshire Police, was caught by members of ‘Justice For The Innocent’ after sending explicit messages and videos of himself performing a sex act to what he thought was an underage teenager.
Grimsted, from Southampton, Hampshire, was confronted by the vigilante group who had travelled to his home before calling the police.
He was handed a 36-month community order, which includes a requirement to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.
He was also made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order but avoided jail time.
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The defendant was a civilian employee based at Southampton Central Police Station, Hampshire.
In the video of his capture, the police worker said he was talking to ‘half a dozen’ people online, though didn’t specify their ages.
Prosecuting, Christopher Wing said: ‘The offences came to light after Grimsted went on the internet and thought he was communicating with young girls aged 13 or so.
‘In fact he was communicating with members of a vigilante paedophile-hunters.
Andrew Grimsted, outside Southampton Crown Court, was handed a 36-month community order
‘They attended his address and detained him in the car park outside his home. Police were called and he was arrested on suspicion of grooming a child.’
Justice For The Innocent filmed their confrontation and posted the footage online.
Grimsted admitted three offences of attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act and three of attempting to have sexual communication with a child.
Richard Onslow, mitigating, said: ‘These offences were committed by a man of previous good character with a sensible job who ought to have known better.
‘Fortunately there was no actual child, so the harm is lower than it would have been had the full offence been carried out.’
Judge Gary Burrell QC described Grimsted’s actions as ‘abhorrent’ and said: ‘Sending moving images to people you believed to be young girls indicated something seriously wrong with your thinking.
‘You’re of previous good character and I’m required by law to take into account.’
Speaking after the case a Hampshire police spokesman said: ‘His role involved planning resources and did not involve any interaction with the general public.
‘He remains suspended from the role and subject to ongoing gross misconduct procedures.’
The police worker was spared prison after he was caught sending explicit messages and videos to paedophile hunters posing as a 13-year-old girl. They confronted him outside his home in Southampton
Detective Superintendent Nigel Lecointe, from Hampshire Constabulary’s Professional Standards Department, added: ‘The investigation into Andrew Grimsted uncovered his attempts to exploit what he believed to be vulnerable children whilst he was off-duty.
‘Hampshire Constabulary expects the highest standards from its officers and staff and will take action against those who commit criminal offences or breach the standards of professional behaviour.’
Justice For The Innocent described the sentence as ‘diabolical’, saying Grimsted was in a position of trust and should have been jailed.
A spokesman said: ‘The sentence fails to reflect the seriousness of his crimes and what could have happened had there been no intervention by a decoy.’
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