Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Teenager behind phone sex sting

Man on mobile phone
Image caption The phone scam was used to target men from all over Britain

A teenager from Edinburgh has admitted extorting £87,700 from men who used adult and gay chat lines.

Kelz Sutherland was involved in a sting operation which threatened to expose men who had been tricked into talking about under-age sex.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard how he was caught after one victim refused to pay and contacted the police.

Sheriff Deirdre MacNeill QC deferred sentence on Sutherland and remanded him in custody.

The court heard how men aged between 32 and 65 from all over Britain had been targeted.

While using the chat lines, they were steered into conversations about under-age sex with boys and girls by what appeared to be one person.

Another person would then interrupt, stating they were a chat line monitor and the conversations would have to be reported to police.

An offer was then made that the recordings would be wiped if money was paid into certain bank accounts.

The scheme came to light when one of the men, who had been told to pay £8,000, alerted the police.

A surveillance operation led the police to Sutherland's home in Bath Street, Edinburgh.

There officers found personal details of the men, including their telephone numbers, home addresses, and places of work on his lap-top computer. There were also details of various bank accounts.

Victims accused

Appearing in court, Sutherland pleaded guilty to nine charges of extortion dating from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2009.

He also admitted attempting to extort £28,000 from two men.

When Sheriff Deirdre MacNeill QC said she would be deferring sentence to allow for a range of reports, Sutherland shouted that his victims were "paedophiles".

He said: "These men say they are victims, why did they give me the money in the first place? Why is it me that's sitting here and not them?"

His defence solicitor, Fiona Cooper, said other people had been involved in the scheme and it was a matter of concern to her client that he was the only one being prosecuted.

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