A cabbie from Ealing attempted to meet up with a 14-year-old girl he had picked up as a passenger after grooming her.
Spyros Ntounis engaged in inappropriate conversation with the teenage girl after collecting her from an address in Barnes.
The 35-year-old then peppered her with WhatsApp messages before the concerned child alerted her parents.
He was charged with attempting to meet a girl under 16 following sexual grooming, and found guilty on Monday (February 19) following a three-day trial at Kingston Crown Court.
He will be sentenced on a date yet to be set.
Ntounis, from Drayton Green Road, was brought to justice following an investigation by the Met's Roads and Transport Policing Command Taxi and Private Hire Policing Team.
The private hire vehicle driver started committing the offence on April 22 last year when he picked up the young passenger at 9.28pm.
As she sat in the back seat, Ntounis engaged in inappropriate conversation and gave her his number in case she ever needed a cab again.
He said she should send him a text so that he would know who was texting him for the cab in the future.
Towards the end of the journey, Ntounis slowed down, saying to the girl this was so he could spend more time her.
After taking her home Ntounis the sent several messages to the girl on WhatsApp, which she replied to. Becoming concerned about the interaction, the girl told her parents.
They blocked Ntounis's messages on WhatsApp and informed police. Undeterred, he later texted her directly.
In order to get written evidence, the parents advised their daughter to respond to the texts before blocking those messages as well. In the messages, Ntounis admitted he had realised her age.
The parents then reported this to police as well.
Officers carried out a search of Ntounis's home address, however he was not at home.
They later managed to contact him by phone and arranged for him to attend a north London police station on May 30 where he was cautioned.
He gave a no comment interview.
Ntounis was released under investigation for enquiries to progress, and following discussion between police and the Crown Prosecution Service, a charge of attempting to meet a girl under 16 following sexual grooming was authorised.
Ntounis appeared at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court on July 18 where he pleaded not guilty.
'A dangerous individual's actions have been stopped from going any further'
Inspector Jas Sandhu, of the Met's Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: "The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) will not tolerate any offences committed upon passengers of taxi and private hire vehicles and will robustly pursue offenders.
"Thanks to the actions by the victim and her family and the Met's investigation, a dangerous individual's actions have been stopped from going any further."
Siwan Hayward, Transport for London's head of transport policing, said: "We take all allegations against licensed taxi and private hire drivers extremely seriously and as soon as we were made aware of this offence we suspended this driver's licence immediately.
“As this case shows, reporting any behaviour that makes you feel uncomfortable is very important.
“It will be taken seriously and by working closely with the police we will fully investigate all allegations, bring offenders to justice and push for the toughest penalties possible."
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