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Undercover operation ends in paedophile’s arrest at Ipswich park

PUBLISHED: 19:00 13 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:07 19 February 2020

Andrew Chaplin arranged to meet what he thought was a 14-year-old boy at Christchurch Park  Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY/ARCHANT

Andrew Chaplin arranged to meet what he thought was a 14-year-old boy at Christchurch Park Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY/ARCHANT

SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY/ARCHANT

A paedophile who thought he was meeting a schoolboy for sex was instead met by police in Ipswich’s Christchurch Park.

Andrew Chaplin thought he was going meet a 14-year-old boy for sex  Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARYAndrew Chaplin thought he was going meet a 14-year-old boy for sex Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Andrew Chaplin, 45, of Cemetery Road, Ipswich, spent two weeks grooming a '14-year-old boy' on dating app Grindr and WhatsApp Messenger.

Appearing before magistrates in custody on Thursday, following his arrest two days earlier, Chaplin pleaded guilty to meeting a boy to engage in sexual activity following grooming, engaging in sexual communication with a child between January 30 and February 11 and attempting to cause a child to view an image of him engaging in a sexual activity.

He also admitted breaching a sexual harm prevention order by possessing a device capable of accessing the internet, but denied breaching the same order by using a chatroom to contact someone he believed was a 14-year-old boy.

He also admitted possessing two grams of cannabis found during a subsequent search of his address.

Chaplin arranged to meet at Christchurch Park, where he was intercepted by police  Picture: ARCHANTChaplin arranged to meet at Christchurch Park, where he was intercepted by police Picture: ARCHANT

Prosecutor Wayne Ablett asked for all matters to be sent to the crown court and for Chaplin to be remanded in custody.

"It is said he was in contact with an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old boy," he added.

"He used an account on Grindr to make contact with the officer.

"At some point, he obsessively quizzed him about whether he was chatting to others - repeatedly asking if he had given his number to any older or younger males.

"The conversation became tense and the 'boy' said he was not comfortable with this questioning.

"It is said he sent explicit images and video of himself performing sexual actions, and that there was an arrangement to meet, following conversation on Grindr and WhatsApp, at 4.30pm on Tuesday in Christchurch Park, where he was intercepted.

"It was quite clear from the communications that his intention was to meet and commit sexual offences," he added.

Natasha Nair, for Chaplin, asked magistrates to release him under strict bail terms to stay at the supported accommodation he has occupied for the last 18 months, potentially under curfew, and to report to police daily.

"He accepts he needs to address his behaviour," said Ms Nair, adding that Chaplin was seeing a psychiatrist and a mental health nurse.

Chaplin was remanded in custody until a hearing at Ipswich Crown Court on March 12.

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