A NINETY two-year-old man has been found guilty of sexual offences against children, after contacting fake chat room profiles set up by a paedophile-hunting group.

Ivor Gifford, of Princess Street, Abertillery, contacted two ‘girls’ - one purporting to be 11-years-old, the other 12 - engaging them in sexually explicit chat room conversations last autumn.

He then arranged to meet one, telling her to “dress sexy” and saying he would “kiss you all over”.

When he arrived for the rendezvous at Llanhilleth railway station on December 3 last year, he was confronted by members of the paedophile/sexual predator-hunting group The Hunted One. The girls did not exist.

Judge Daniel Williams adjourned sentencing until Friday June 2, while pre-sentence reports are compiled. Gifford remains in custody.

During a trial at Newport Crown Court, it was revealed that RAF veteran Gifford contacted the ‘girls’ during September-December last year.

His messages to the profiles, called Jessie875 and Jodie Carson, quickly broached the subject of sex while repeatedly asking their ages.

Gifford progressed from telling Jodie she was “gorgeous” to asking if she had sex, and sending explicit photographs of himself.

His opening comment to Jessie875 commented on her “lovely face.” But he soon progressed to calling her his “secret love” and asking if she would visit him. He told her he was “horny” for her and asked if she wanted a “sex lesson.”

It was agreed that Jessie875 would visit him on December 3, when members of The Hunted One confronted Gifford. They included Daniel Cook and Andy Bradstock, who set up and ran the profiles, and answered Gifford’s messages as the ‘girls’.

Gifford was then arrested and charged with two counts of attempting to incite a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, and one of attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

He pleaded not guilty but a jury found him guilty of all three charges.

Prosecuting counsel Owen Williams said Gifford was persistent in sending messages, and “the majority contain a reference to some type of sexual activity or comment.”

“Mr Gifford graphically described sexual acts and sent images of himself naked,” he said.

Gifford “never believed” their ages, thought they were 17-21, and began to doubt their identities. He wondered too, if they were 11 and 12, what they were doing in an adult chat room and what were their parents like to let them do it.

Detective Superintendent Leanne Brustad, head of public protection for Gwent Police, said the force relies on the public to help prevent and detect crime.

“Cases involving child sex abuse are extremely serious and have a huge emotional impact,” she said.

“We understand the desire to protect children but any member of the public who has information about child sexual abuse, online or otherwise, should get in contact with the police.”

A video of The Hunted One confronting Gifford, and similar incidents, have been posted online.

DS Brustad said: “Revealing the identity of suspected paedophiles gives the suspect the opportunity to destroy evidence before the police can investigate them.

“It also leads to people who have been identified going missing or raising concerns for their safety.

“This can divert significant resources into protecting suspects, which would be better invested in investigating and, where there is evidence, prosecuting them.

“Vigilante groups also risk committing offences themselves whilst dealing with these suspected paedophiles, which our officers then have to deal with.

“If any member of the public has concerns about online grooming, they should call 101 to report it, or email CEOP at www.ceop.police.uk.

“If you think a child is at immediate risk of harm, always call 999.”

The Hunted One group has been involved in a number of ‘sting’ operations, gathering evidence through fake online profiles before confronting alleged paedophiles and filming the encounters.

The group is “happy” with Gifford’s conviction, and pledged: “We will continue to do our utmost to keep catching people that think it’s ok to groom children.”