A man from Basingstoke who thought he was travelling to meet a 12-year-old girl has been spared time behind bars.

In fact the 'child' was a non-existent decoy, set up by online vigilantes, and Callum Brown was arrested at Corby railway station, a court heard.

Brown, of Ferndown Close, Basingstoke, was charged with two child sex offences after attempting to arrange/facilitate the commission of a child sex offence, and meeting a child following sexual grooming. He admitted the offences.

It happened after the 24-year-old travelled more than 100 miles to Corby in Northamptonshire, to meet who he thought was a child at around 7.30pm on Tuesday, August 22.

Police were called by an 'online activist group' to Corby train station, revealing the 'child' as a decoy. 

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He appeared in Northampton Magistrates court on Thursday, August 24 and was remanded back into custody before appearing at Northampton Crown Court on Friday, November 3.

Brown received a 12-month suspended sentence, is subject to a sexual harm prevention order for five years, and will be registered on the sex offender register for 10 years.

A Northamptonshire Police spokeswoman said: "Although the 'girl' Callum Brown was talking to online was actually a decoy, it doesn't detract from the serious fact that he had very real intentions to sexually abuse a 12-year-old child, travelling over 100 miles and two and a half hours from Basingstoke to Corby in order to do so.

“Northamptonshire Police takes sexual offences against children very seriously and will do everything we can in order to put the offenders before the courts."