A FATHER aged 48 who sent messages to a 13-year-old girl arranging to meet for unlawful sexual activity has had his name placed on the Sex Offenders Register at Selkirk Sheriff Court.

Stewart Samson made arrangements to travel more than 100 miles to meet the schoolgirl knowing she was under 16 years of age.

He was also given a three year Community Payback Order involving supervision and unpaid work of 120 hours.

Samson - who has a partner and a nine-year-old daughter - is also banned from having unsupervised contact with children 18 and must get permission of his supervising officer if he wants to travel outwith his home county of Angus.

The court heard how Samson connected with the girl on social media and she initially said she was 16 years old and he soon made it clear his interest in her was a sexual one.

He even travelled more than 100 miles from his home in Forfar to the Borders and was spotted in various locations in Galashiels and Selkirk, but they did not meet.

The girl then told Samson, now 49, she had a birthday coming up and he suspected then she may be only 15 and under age - but still told her that he would travel to meet her and would only go as far as a "kiss".

He was caught when the 13-year-old's mother went through her phone and found their conversations and contacted the police.

Samson pleaded guilty to a charge of having communicated with a girl under the age of 16, making arrangements to meet her intending in engaging in unlawful sexual activity and did attempt to meet her.

He admitted contravening section one of the Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences(Scotland) Act 2005 which carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison.

The court was told that the girl was 13 years old at the time of the offence last November and that she was young looking for her age and extremely shy.

Police officers attended at Samson's home in Sir James Duncan Gardens in Forfar on January 4 and he was taken to police headquarters in Dundee.

Defence lawyer Greg McDonnel said his client was a first offender and pointed there had been no contact between the pair.

He added Stewart had a good work record but had lost his job as a result of the offence.

Sheriff David Clapham said it was a serious offence but took into account the time Stewart will be committed to attending supervised meetings of the Tay Project by restricting the number of unpaid work hours to 120.

Stewart's name will be on the Sex Offenders Register for three years.