Page last updated at 18:37 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 19:37 UK

Video campaign man avoids prison

A man who filmed men meeting for sex in an attempt to stop them visiting a Lincolnshire wood has been spared jail.

Colin Haw, 47, of Mayflower Road, Boston, earlier admitted a public order offence for filming one person in June.

He said he reported the matter to police but was ignored so he decided to act because families visited the area.

Haw was sentenced at Boston Magistrates' Court to four months in prison, suspended for a year and a half and given 200 hours community service.

'Misguided enterprise'

Chairman of the bench Pat Walsh rejected an application by Lincolnshire Police for an antisocial behaviour order (Asbo) to be made against the self-employed mechanic.

He told the father-of-two: "Your actions were premeditated and quite deliberate in targeting a group of people we would describe as vulnerable. Our thoughts were to send you to custody but we are not going to do that today."

Images shown to the court depicted Haw and others wearing balaclavas and combat gear with video cameras and walkie-talkies in the wood near Sleaford.

Often they would pretend to be looking for sex to lure gay men into the area before confronting them and asking what they were doing.

'Protector of morals'

Sometimes the resulting footage would be dubbed with music such as YMCA by the Village People and the Teddy Bear's Picnic.

Liz Harte, defending, described Haw's actions as a "misguided enterprise".

She told the court: "Mr Haw thought he was doing the right thing. The thinking was that he was a protector of morals and a guardian of children."

Earlier, Haw admitted the public order offences of filming one of his victims in a lay-by next to the A17 on 17 June 2008.

After the hearing the Lincolnshire-based Strategic Independent Advisory Group, which represents vulnerable communities, and Lincolnshire Kaleidoscope which represents gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender people condemned Haw's actions as "truly disgusting."

Haw told the BBC he had not wanted to harm anyone.

He said: "I've got nothing against the gay community, but what I do not like, whether it's gay or heterosexual, is sex in a public place. I've got a problem with that."

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