Highlands & Islands

Alness man sentenced over sex with teens

A teenager who used a social networking site to meet under-age girls for sex has escaped a jail sentence.

Stuart Smith, 21, of Alness, in Easter Ross, earlier admitted four charges of unlawful sexual intercourse.

The offences began in 2007 when he was 17. He was 19 when he met the last girl in 2010.

Smith, a mechanic, was ordered to perform 100 hours of unpaid work in the community and was placed on probation for three years.

But judge Lord Turnbull, at the High Court in Glasgow, decided not to place Smith on the sex offenders register after noting that two of the girls could also have faced charges.

First offender Smith contacted two of the teenagers through social network website Bebo, another girl through one of her friends and met one at a bus stop.

Mobile photos

Advocate depute Alastair Carmichael, prosecuting, said the offences came to light as the result of police investigations into another matter and none of the girls concerned had gone to the police.

The court heard that a 14-year-old girl received a message on Bebo from Smith asking for her mobile phone number and they agreed to meet at Invergordon show ground.

The encounter led to a four-month relationship in 2007 when Smith was 17.

They split after a row when the girl claimed Smith had made her pregnant and she found photos of other girls on his mobile phone.

Mr Carmichael described how another 13-year-old started to receive messages on her Bebo site telling her she was gorgeous.

Smith and the girl swapped photos and exchanged intimate texts before arranging a meeting in July 2010 when Smith was 19.

Another girl met Smith through a friend when she was 15 and he was 18. Mr Carmichael said they chatted and watched DVDs before going to a bedroom to have sex.

And the fourth girl was only 13 when Smith met her at a bus stop near his home after a party, the court heard.

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