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Vigilante paedophile hunting group caught King’s Lynn man Thomas Reeve speaking to 14-year-old on Facebook

A vigilante paedophile hunting group caught a 28-year-old attempting to speak to a 14-year-old girl on social media.

Thomas Reeve, of St Edmundsbury Road in Lynn, appeared at the town’s magistrates’ court on Thursday.

He pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited image of a child, as well as attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

Thomas Reeve appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday
Thomas Reeve appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday

Detailing the second offence first, which took place between September 14-18 in 2021, crown prosecutor Colette Harper told magistrates that Norfolk Police was originally alerted to Reeve’s wrongdoing by an online vigilante paedophile hunter group.

While posing as a 14-year-old girl on Facebook, the group was contacted by Reeve. He asked for her age, and after being told she was 14, Reeve confirmed he was 26 at the time – and said he “liked naughty things”.

He also asked if the girl “liked older guys”, and suggested she send photographs of herself.

A few months later, after police were told of his offence, he was arrested.

His home was search, with a large number of items seized – including laptops, phones, computers and DVD players. On these, several explicit images of children were recovered, leading to his second charge in early 2022.

On Thursday, magistrates – chaired by Alan Hayes – asked for an all-options pre-sentence report to be carried out by probation services. This will be done next month, and Reeve will return to the Lynn court on April 4 to learn his fate.

He has been released on unconditional bail. However, he has now been placed under police monitoring having pleaded guilty, meaning he had three days from his court appearance to provide officers with details such as his name, address and date of birth.

When he is sentenced, he will find out how long that order lasts for.

In mitigation, solicitor Ruth Johnson described Reeve as a young man who has been diagnosed with ADHD.

“It has been a long time for these offences to come to court,” she said.

“He is incredibly upset with himself. There is no suggestion that any offending has taken place since this came to light.”

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