Pervert told to expect jail sentence after being snared by ‘paedophile hunters’

Hardey was confronted outside The Mall

Hardey was confronted outside The Mall

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A pervert who was caught by pair of ‘paedophile hunters’ has been told to expect an immediate jail sentence.

Lee Hardey, 41, from Luton, organised to meet a 12-year-old girl for sex but was instead confronted by Neil and Katie Ivall.

Footage shows the 41-year-old telling the Ivalls: "I was only mucking about"

Footage shows the 41-year-old telling the Ivalls: "I was only mucking about"

For a week the couple, from Dunstable, posed as the girl online and agreed to a meeting outside The Mall.

Footage of the sting shows Hardey exclaiming: “Oh it was you, I didn’t know”.

He then denies he had intended to meet the child for sex, telling the Ivalls: “I was only mucking about”.

After conceding what he had done was wrong, Hardey tells the couple that he would hand himself in at Luton Police Station.

Neil and Katie Ivall

Neil and Katie Ivall

When pressed why he did it he says: “I don’t know, I’m f***** in the head”.

Shortly after the footage was shot the 41-year-old was arrested and remanded in custody.

He appeared via video link at Luton Crown Court on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

Sentencing has been adjourned until Tuesday, November 3, as police say they discovered a “significant amount” of indecent images on Hardey’s phone at the time of his arrest.

Once an interview has been conducted, a further charge against Hardey for that may be pursued.

Judge David Farrell QC told the 41-year-old: “By adjourning I am not giving you an indication (of sentence).

“It is a serious matter that is likely to result in an immediate custodial sentence”.

Hardey’s conviction comes after that of another Luton man who was nabbed by the Ivalls in July.

Leslie Turner, 54, of Cromwell Hill, also pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to meet a child through sexual grooming, after he arranged to meet a 14-year-old girl at Luton train station.

Turner will be sentenced on Tuesday.

Since first deciding to take on the task of handing over alleged paedophiles to the police two months ago, Neil and Katie Ivall continue to conduct stings across the country.