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There was never any suggestion that he did set up chat lines.“It’s his position that these were carousel chat lines – that he could listen to the messages that these people had left, he could leave messages and he could contact them.“It was the content of their messages and their chat which prompted him to ask for the money.” When Sutherland was last in court in August, he shouted out during the case that the men had been “paedophiles”.

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“He anonymously reported several of these people on the Crimestoppers number.

He did then go on to extort the money from them.” “Talk sexy” She also told that court that the teenager had to be put into protection at Polmont whilst in custody after other prisoners found out what he had done in the newspapers.

When police eventually raided Sutherland’s home in Bath Street, Edinburgh, on 23 January this year they found the personal details of the callers including their dates of birth, phone numbers and even their friends and relatives’ addresses. Sentencing Sutherland, Sheriff Mac Neill said: “Rarely in the course of dealing with cases in court have I seen such a selection of reports showing such a troubled background.” But she went on to say Sutherland’s crime was “despicable”.

Sheriff Mac Neill added: “There are strong indications that your behaviour is compulsive and you pose a high risk to others.” “Devious and manipulative” Detective Chief Inspector, Richard Thomas, who oversaw the investigation welcomed today’s sentence.

She told police she had given the account over to her son, who she said worked as an escort and “talked sexy” to callers in his bedroom.

Mr Jessop added: “Some complainers suffered high degrees of stress as a result of the debt.

And today at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Sheriff Deidre Mac Neill QC sentenced Sutherland to three years and nine months behind bars for extorting £87,700 from 10 men aged between 32 and 65 years old between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2009.

His defence agent, Fiona Cooper, said that Sutherland’s troubled background and family life had left him with certain feelings about both chat lines and paedophiles.

She told the court that the teenager had been put into a secure school when he was younger and absconded, leaving him in the hands of an older man.

She said: “That older man harboured him and sexually abused him and introduced him to chat lines at an extremely young age.

The elaborate scam only came to light when one of the men contacted police, who then set up a sting codenamed ‘Operation Machine’ to track down Sutherland.

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