A 39-year-old man has been jailed after it was found that he wanted to have sex with a 14-year-old girl. Adil Sultan was held after vigilante paedophile hunters who pretended to be a minor girl chatted with him and got to know about his intentions.

Sultan, originally from Pakistan, had travelled to Middlesbrough from his home in Sunderland in August 2017 to meet the fictional girl, named Laura, with whom he had been interacting on social media. Vigilante group Guardians of the North was managing the account in the name of Laura, the Metro reported.

The paedophile, who had used a fake online name and posed as a 25-year-old man, was arrested after Guardians of the North alerted police when he came to meet Laura.

The group also released a clip of the place where he thought he would be meeting the girl. In the video, detectives confronted the man, who apparently said that he did not know that sex with a 14-year-old was illegal, saying that he thought having sexual relations with an underage girl was fine, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Sultan pleaded guilty to the charges of trying to meet a child following sexual grooming and has been sentenced to 17 months in prison.

However, he is reluctant to be deported back to Pakistan. Sultan fears for his safety due to the public outrage and circumstances in the country regarding the unrelated paedophilia case of Zainab Ansari, an eight-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in the Pakistani region of Punjab.

He is now planning to apply for asylum in the UK, the Metro reported. Defending him, Sultan's lawyer Mohammed Rafiq said, "He apologises to the court for his actions. He has brought shame upon himself and his family, who have found out about his circumstances because he has been in custody.

"He has instructed me that it would be unsafe for him to go back to his country and someone else is instructed to make an application for asylum."