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Vigilant mother foils dirty old man's chat-room plan

He was 17, going on 47

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Police yesterday warned parents of the perils of the Internet after a middle-aged man duped a 13-year-old girl he met in an online chat room into a clandestine date. The 47-year-old perv masqueraded as a teenager, sending the girl a series of intimate messages online. The man, traced by police to the North of England, asked her for photos of herself before arranging to meet. Luckily, the youngster's mother grew suspicious and decided to play chaperone. "I was also a bit worried because he insisted if I was there he would drive away immediately," she said. The mother dropped her daughter at the proposed place for the romantic rendezvous - Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire - and waited at a discreet distance to watch the goings-on. To her horror, the "boy" who walked up to her daughter was actually a "middle-aged, not very well-dressed man". The vigilant mother confronted him, saying: "You are not 17". According to her, the man tried to weasel his way out, claiming first to be 17, but then wisely admitting he wasn't. The man was arrested, but released without charge. Police said there was not enough evidence that an offence had been committed. Chief Inspector Neville Pinkny of Milton Keynes police commented: "This was a most disturbing case and had it not been for the vigilance of the mother, the girl could have placed herself at quite considerable risk." John Carr, a consultant on Internet safety with a children's charity, told the Times: "The Internet is a great thing, but parents should view it as they would Central London – it's a great place to be, but you would not let your kids go there unaccompanied unless you were sure they knew all about stranger danger." Last year Patrick Naughton, a former Infoseek exec, was arrested after trying to solicit sex with a 13-year-old girl. He had also met his victim in an online chat room. ® Related stories Disney Web exec on kiddie porn charge Child sex Disney exec 'admitted offence' Infoseek porn exec gets porridge for Xmas

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