Online consultant groomed teens for sex

London: An online consultant whose job was to advise young people on their sexual development groomed teenagers for sex and was caught red-handed while arranging to meet a "trained" girl.

Simon Beard, 56, a consultant at the National Youth Agency, was caught red-handed in an undercover investigation by Sky News reporters who were looking into cases of men who attempted to groom children for sex.

The reporters entered a teenage online chat room and posed as a 13-year-old girl called "Amy".

Beard arranged to meet the girl for sex at the Gunnersbury Tube Station in west London. He also attempted to incite the 13-year-old to engage in sexual activity as well as to cause the girl to watch a sexual act.

Beard was caught after the reporters passed a dossier of evidence, including film footage, to the Metropolitan Police.

Judge David Higgins at the Southwark Crown Court in central London ordered a pre-sentence report into the danger Beard posed to the public, saying he wanted a "proper opportunity to reflect on the true measure of his criminality".

Beard appeared via video link from Wandsworth Prison for the 20-minute plea.

Peter Zinner, for the prosecution, said Beard was "working for an organisation which effectively advised young people on their sexual development".Beard, a resident of Little Harrowden in Northamptonshire, was employed by the National Youth Agency in 2002 as a consultant. In his role, he advised and counselled young people and youth workers on sexual relationships.

Beard, however, denied a further charge of possessing 83 indecent images of children.