A MAN who had sex with a 13-year-old girl on Brighton beach and on a train was allegedly tracked down by paedophile hunters months earlier, a court has heard.

Kerien Rudland, 24, is alleged to have sent sexually explicit messages to a Facebook account he thought belonged to a 12-year-old girl between July 30 and August 26 2018.

But Lewes Crown Court, sitting at Brighton Magistrates’ Court, heard the profile was a “decoy” operated by adult Sarah Purser, who said she runs a “paedophile hunting team”.

Rudland, of Alwold Crescent, Lee South, east London, is on trial after denying three child sex offence charges linked to the alleged messages.

Prosecutor Sophie Shotton told a jury on Wednesday that Rudland had already pleaded guilty to a “number of offences” relating to a 13-year-old girl he had sex with after messaging her Facebook account.

She said it was the prosecution’s case that words used by Rudland while messaging the 13-year-old were “very similar” to those he allegedly sent to the decoy account.

“On July 30 last year, Kerien Rudland contacted the (decoy) account by initially sending a friend request. She accepted and then he started to send messages,” Ms Shotton said.

“On August 6, he sent her a message that said ‘f*** me’. Soon afterwards he sent her a message saying she was sexy. She asked how old he is, and she said she is only 12.”

Ms Shotton said the contact continued, with Rudland allegedly sending two photos of his genitals to the decoy account on August 8 and 20. He tried to persuade her to meet with him in person, saying they would have sex when they met,” she said.

Rudland’s father was forced to call police to his home in Hull on August 26 2018, as there were a “group of paedophile hunters at his address looking for his son”, Ms Shotton said.

The court heard that Rudland was arrested after Ms Purser provided police with messages he allegedly sent to the fake account, the court heard.

In an interview with police, Rudland allegedly claimed his account had been hacked by an ex-girlfriend, Ms Shotton said.

Rudland was released on bail and interviewed again by police on January 23, where he was asked about messages sent to a 13-year-old girl on Facebook.

Ms Shotton said Rudland had been in “significant and highly sexualised contact” with the girl.

She told the jury the defendant had already admitted to having sex with the 13-year-old at Brighton beach on February 10 this year, and on a train to London on February 11.

Rudland is accused of attempting to incite a girl under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity, attempting to engage in sexual communications with a girl under 16, and attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act. He has pleaded not guilty.

The trial continues.