A FORMER mayor who was caught trying to meet a boy for sex has been told to expect a prison sentence.

Lee Cook, who was Mayor of Peterlee prior to his first appearance in court, was caught in a sting operation by an anti-child abuse campaign group Guardians of the North.

The 29-year-old admitted to attempting to meet a boy under the age of 16 following grooming when he appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court earlier this month.

He made an appearance at Durham Crown Court today and will be sentenced later this year.

Penny Bottomley, defending Cook, applied for the case to be adjourned to allow time to gather medical evidence and personal character references.

She said: “Mr Cook has entered an early guilty plea to one offence. He was a man of good character”

She added: “A report will be needed to see if Mr Cook is suitable for a sex offender treatment programme.

“He suffers from severe epilepsy, which requires him to be supervised during certain activities.

“Reports will be needed about his medical condition, and he would like to obtain a number of personal references in relation to his character which may assist in sentencing.”

At the time of his arrest, Cook, of Quantock Place, Peterlee, was a town councillor in Peterlee.

He had been elected the town’s youngest ever mayor earlier this year.

He resigned both positions after he was charged and was suspended by the North East Party while the investigation continues.

Following his arrest, Guardians of the North confirmed it had been involved in the sting, which had involved Cook trying to meet a 15-year-old boy following sexual grooming.

Judge Christopher Prince adjourned the case until Friday, October 13 to allow the reports to be produced.

The judge told Cook: “I have made it quite clear I will allow the opportunity to obtain medical evidence and references in this matter.

“I have made it quite clear it’s not an indication that you will receive anything other than an immediate custodial sentence.

“Your bail will continue as present.”

Cook, who was of previous good character, was bailed on condition he has no unsupervised contact with anyone under 16 years.

The court heard he has already registered as a sex offender.

The length of his registration will be decided at sentence.