A 79-year-old man who sent sick sex messages to a girl he thought was aged just 14 has been sentenced to six months supervision.

Robert Stewart was snared by a paedophile hunter group after engaging in disgusting sex conversations with the ‘decoy’, which were deemed too extreme to be read out in court.

He also sent sex videos and a photo of his penis to ‘Madison’, a fake social media profile set up by paedo hunters based in England.

When Stewart appeared for sentencing, the sheriff said he had been subject to entrapment by a vigilante group.

Dunfermline Sheriff Court heard people had attended at Stewart’s home to make their feelings known about his offences following his last court appearance.

Initially, Stewart denied being involved when confronted on his doorstep by the campaigners.

However, the court was told he now accepted his guilt and blamed his actions on being “bored during lockdown”.

Stewart, of Page Street, Lochgelly, admitted that between May 19 and June 17 he repeatedly sent sexualised messages and indecent sexual images and videos to ‘Madison’ and attempted to cause a child to look at a sexual image.

Depute fiscal Jill Currie said a paedophile hunter group in Stoke-on-Trent had contacted a similar group based in Dundee and told them about the messages being sent by Stewart.

Members from the Dundee group then went to his home and challenged him on the doorstep.

This encounter was videoed and shows Stewart denying involvement and the paedophile hunters then saying they would be contacting the police with their information.

The depute said there were 50 pages of “extremely graphic” messages sent by Stewart, which she would be submitting as evidence.

Defence solicitor James Moncrieff asked for the messages not be read out in court.

“They are not the sort of thing I think should be read in open court,” he added.

He conceded: “The messages are of a very graphic nature and he also sent a photo of his penis.”

The depute agreed about the extreme nature of the messages, adding: “He was asking her to perform sexual acts upon herself.”

Mr Moncrieff said his client lives with his wife and is her carer, as she has various health problems.

The solicitor went on: “He accepts he sent the messages. He says he was bored during lockdown.

“He was flattered that someone of that age would be interested in him. He accepts the messages were extremely inappropriate and he’s brought shame upon himself.

“He’s ashamed and disgusted at his behaviour.”

Sheriff Alastair Brown said Stewart had been subject to “entrapment by a vigilante group, that is a group acting in an unregulated manner, using techniques which are distinct and making false representations”.

The sheriff said the activities of such groups have been previously condemned by police in Scotland as well as in England and Wales.

He added: “What they do puts people at risk.”

The sheriff said that the entrapment had a significant mitigatory impact on Stewart’s culpability.

He went on: “No harm has been done, nor could it because no child ever existed.”

However, he said society disapproves strongly of the offences Stewart had committed.

This had been seen when he was the target of “public vilification including people attending at his home”.

The sheriff concluded: “In the reports I’ve read there is no evidence that he poses a risk to anyone.”

He imposed a community payback order with six months supervision and Stewart will also be on the sex offenders register for the same period.