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A married dad caught sending sexual messages to accounts he thought belonged to girls has been jailed.
Roger Hicks, 58, was confronted at his home in Long Sutton by paedophile hunters in front of his wife earlier this year.
They then broadcast this confrontation live on Facebook, but they were criticised for disrupting a police probe.
Met Police were carrying out an investigation by posing as Gaby and Millie, two 13-year-old girls talking to Hicks, reports LincolnshireLive.
This investigation was disrupted after paedophile hunters carried out a separate investigation into Hicks which led to him being arrested.
Mr Lody, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court: "He was arrested as a result of a so-called paedophile hunting group turning up at his home where he lived with his wife. He also has adult children who are no longer living with them.
"He was confronted. Neighbours became rather agitated and police were called. At that stage he was arrested and taken into custody not only for questioning but for his own safety."
The prosecutor said that it may have been that the paedophile hunting group's activities affected what was already an ongoing police investigation.
Mr Lody added: "It may well be that if the paedophile hunting group had not acted in the way they did then inquiries would have been broader. Other people who were perhaps of interest to the police have potentially not been dealt with."
Mr Lody told the court that Hicks was the administrator for a chatroom on the Kik app and told the two Met Police decoys that they could trust him because of his role within the group.
Hicks went on to share photographs of himself, his workplace, his car and even his driving licence before turning the conversations to sex while insisting "I'm not a paedophile".
Hicks, 58, formerly of Anfield Road, Long Sutton, admitted two charges of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, one charge of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and one charge of attempting to cause a child to look at an image of sexual activity between June 11 and 19 this year.
He also admitted further charges of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act between 14 and 26 June.
He was jailed for 16 months and given a seven year sexual harm prevention order.
Judge John Pini QC, passing sentence, described the messages sent by Hicks as "highly sexualised" and told him: "The sentence has to be one of immediate custody as the offences are too serious to be dealt with in any other way.
"You do need help. If you really want to get that help then it is up to you to seek it."
Sunil Khanna, in mitigation, said that Hicks got involved in chatrooms two years ago and initially chatted with adult women but that led to issues within his marriage.
"He was then watching pornography. That led him to start trying to chat to young girls. That snowballed and led him to become involved in extremely sexual conversations with these young girls. He was in the app for two years but the sexualised talk was only going on for the last four months.
"He was living out his own fantasy. He had no intention of ever meeting these girls. He couldn't help himself having started down this road.
"He has now spent the best part of six weeks in custody and has had time to reflect on what he has done. He needs help."
- In the News
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