A MAN from Rickmansworth was targeted for £15,000 in an internet dating blackmail scam.
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was duped into believing Peter Simms was 21-year-old woman called Claire when they spoke via website, sugardaddie.com.
Simms, 41, later told the victim he was a 15-year-old girl who was mature for her age.
St Albans Crown Court heard that the victim arranged to meet the 'girl' on the A1 in Hertfordshire. He left without meeting anyone but noticed a man on a moped.
Prosecuting, Sally Mealing-McLeod told the court that the victim received a mobile phone call from Simms, who said he was the father of the teenage girl, and had read the correspondence between them.
The victim cancelled his mobile phone, but Simms contacted him by email and demanded £15,000, or threatened to go to the police.
After Simms, of Cheshunt, told the victim he knew where he lived, the victim went to Rickmansworth police station.
Simms, who was arrested, said he had been abused as a child. After watching a television programme on how police caught paedophiles, he decided to follow suit.
Defending, Jennifer Osbourne said he had shown some signs of depression.
She told the court: "I ask you to accept this is something motivated in part by his experience as a child.
Simms admitted blackmail and Judge Andrew Bright QC jailed him for 21 months.
What do you think? Have you fallen prey to an internet scam? Email Gazette reporter Siba Matti at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment at http://rickmansworth.uxbridgegazette.co.uk