Former mayor jailed after being snared by paedophile hunters

Lee Cook, who has since resigned as mayor of Peterlee

A town's youngest ever mayor has been jailed for 12 months after beingsnared by paedophile hunters while trying to meet a 15-year-old boy.

Lee Cook was confronted by Guardians of the North after exchanging sexual chat with who he believed was a 15-year-old boy on Gay dating app Grindr.

The 30-year-old, who has since resigned as the mayor of Peterlee, organised to meet the 'teenager' at his own home on August 5 but was greeted by the undercover organisation and police.

Robin Turton, prosecuting, told the Durham Crown Court how Cook sent thedecoy explicit images during the online chat.

He told the court how Cook tried to claim he thought the '15' related tothe number of miles between him and the boy and not his age.

Mr Turton said: "When the screen shots were put to the defendant he thenreverted to saying 'no comment'."

Cook, of Quantock Place, Peterlee, County Durham, pleaded guilty at aearlier hearing to trying to meet a boy under 16 following grooming.

The matter is one that is an attempt, no actual child involved.

Penny Bottomley, defending

Ms Bottomley also told the court that Cook has had to move house because of death threats.

You have in the past been a positive and pre social member of society where you live. You have done positive voluntary work and unpaid work in the community.

The Judge, Recorder Peter Makepeace

Recorder Makepeace sentenced Cook to 12 months in prison.

He also ordered him to abide by a sexual harm prevention order for fiveyears and to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.

I think the sentence should have been much, much longer.

Kay, Guardians of the North member