A Leeds primary school teacher was caught by a paedophile vigilante group after making arrangements to have sex with what he thought was a 15-year-old boy.
A court heard Shane Shaw was arrested over the online sting after making contact with a ‘teenager’ on the Grindr dating app.
Shaw, 29, a teacher at Southroyd Primary School, in Pudsey, Leeds, was in fact sending messages to a member of pedophile hunter group N-Force.
Leeds Crown Court heard Shaw quit his role as a teacher as a result of the offending.
Shaw received a suspended prison sentence today after pleading guilty to causing or inciting a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity.
After the case, Southroyd Primary School headteacher said the incident had “shocked our whole school community.”
Andrew Semple, prosecuting, said Shaw made contact with a fake profile on Gridr which had been set up by a member of N-Force on Christmas Eve.
Shaw was at his mother’s home in Bradford at the time and sent two pictures of himself.
Shaw continued to make contact despite being told that the owner of the profile was only 15.
Mr Semple said Shaw offered to pay for a taxi so the ‘teenager’ could come to meet him.
He sent a message which read: “We can spoon, kiss and get naked and see what happens.”
Shaw also sent messages saying that he was a school teacher.
Shaw made further contact with the profile on Christmas Day, this time sending details of his home address on Rosemont Avenue, Bramley, Leeds.
The prosecutor said Shaw blocked all contact with the profile later that day.
Members of N-Force went to the property on New Year’s Day and made a citizen’s arrest.
The court heard police later seized computer equipment from Shaw’s home and it did not contain any indecent images of children.
Geraldine Kelly, mitigating, said Shaw had no previous convictions.
She said her client had made contact on just two occasions when he had been drinking.
She said: “This was a very short-lived moment of madness.
“He saw that it was inappropriate and he realised that he had made a huge mistake and he regretted it.
“The purpose of blocking that contact was to avoid any contact whatsoever.”
Shaw was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
He was also ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work and attend a sex offender programme.
He must also go on the sex offender register for ten years.
Recorder Joanne Kidd said: “You were a primary school teacher and will have undertaken a significant amount of training in respect of safeguarding and issues around children and consent. You should have known better.”
After the case Kate Prior, headteacher at Southroyd Primary School said: “This incident has shocked our whole school community.
“As soon as we were made aware of the situation we took immediate action and advice from the appropriate authorities, and the member of staff concerned is no longer an employee.
“The police have confirmed that no child was directly involved in this incident and that there is no evidence to suggest that the safety of any of our children at Southroyd has been compromised in any way.
“The safety and wellbeing of all our children remains our top priority, and we have rigorous child protection, safeguarding procedures and safe working practices to support this.”
Detective Inspector Dave McDougal, of Leeds District Safeguarding Unit, said: “Although Shaw’s offending was not linked to his occupation as a teacher, he was in a position where he should have known better than anyone about protecting young people from harm.”