Paedophile driving instructor from Rother Valley snared by undercover cops is jailed
A driving instructor who attempted to communicate sexually with children online has been caged after he was trapped by two undercover police officers.
Sheffield Crown Court heard how driving instructor Craig Hall, aged 49, of Swallownest, was snared by officers posing as young girls on a social network platform.
Christopher Dunn, prosecuting, said: “There was an operation conducted by police into protecting minors who were being exploited by social network platforms online. The police objective was to identify and prosecute those responsible.”
Hall communicated sexually via a social online platform with two profiles purporting to be young girls between January and February, 2020, but they were police decoys, explained Mr Dunn.
Mr Dunn said Hall was arrested at his home and a mobile phone revealed 12 further online chats with 11 profiles claiming to be females aged between 11 and 15 years of age.
The defendant discussed his genitals, female private parts, oral sex and masturbation, and he sent a picture of his penis to three of the profiles, according to Mr Dunn, but following his arrest he claimed he had gained no sexual gratification from the conversations.
Hall originally claimed he had been bored and had started talking to adult females before communicating with two younger female profiles.
But the defendant pleaded guilty to 14 counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child between September 2019 and February 2020.
Mr Dunn explained the counts are ‘attempts’ because two of the profiles were decoys and the others could not be found so it cannot be categorically proved that they were children despite the profile ages.
James Gould, defending, said: “By his own actions he has rendered himself unemployed. So already there has been some degree of punishment and some very real changes in his personal and domestic circumstances.”
Mr Gould added Hall cares for his poorly wife and his mother and he is being supported by those close to him.
Recorder Darren Preston told Hall: “The sooner you learn you are a paedophile and that you are attracted to children, Mr Hall, the sooner you might be receptive to treatment.”
Recorder Preston sentenced Hall to 28 months of custody and imposed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.