UK tourist allegedly groomed 13-year-old Sydney girl for sex
A British tourist who allegedly groomed a 13-year-old Sydney girl to have sex in his campervan has been caught in an undercover sting.
The 34-year-old man, who was travelling Australia's east coast in a campervan, was arrested in Westmead, in Sydney's west, on Friday after arriving from Cairns.
Police allege that last week he began talking online to a person who he thought was a 13-year-old girl living in Sydney.
He engaged in "sexually-explicit conversations with the child", police said in a statement.
"The man told the child he was driving down the coast from Cairns and made arrangements to meet when he arrived in Sydney."
However, the 'girl' was actually an undercover police officer from the NSW Police's Child Exploitation Internet Unit.
The man was met with detectives when he arrived in Westmead shortly after 11am on Friday.
Officers conducted a search of a campervan and seized a number of items for forensic examination including an iPad and iPhone.
Police released photos of the van showing a makeshift bed set up in the back.
The man is expected to appear in Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday on charges of using a carriage service to procure persons under 16.
Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett, said the arrest was a timely reminder for parents and carers to speak with young people about the dangers of talking to strangers online.
"While the online environment allows us to be better connected with people we know, it also provides opportunity for people we don't know to connect with us - and this includes strangers talking to our children," she said.
She said it was common for young people to feel uncomfortable reporting inappropriate conversations.
"I urge parents to make sure they let their children know they don't need to be embarrassed or upset - no one will judge you," she said.
She said young people should be careful about providing personal details to someone they only know online, and take extreme caution if making plans to meet up.
- Sydney Morning Herald