A Sydney driving instructor has been caught in an undercover sting allegedly attempting to lure a young girl over the internet.
Police are now bracing for an avalanche of potential victims when parents discover he may have taught their children.
The father-of-two has been married for 20 years, but on Thursday morning 63-year-old Tony Whale’s seemingly normal life came crashing down as police swooped in.
Police allege for the last month Whale had been engaging in conversation with a 14-year-old girl over the internet, even making arrangements to meet her for sex.
But there was no child, he was talking to detectives.
On Thursday, those same detectives arrested Whale as he allegedly went to meet who he thought was a young girl.
“We also executed a search warrant on a home in Castle Hill and at that search warrant we seized a number of electronic devices, computers, laptops, et cetera,” Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Detective Inspector Mick Haddow said.
The alleged messages Whale thought he was sending to a 14-year-old girl were both explicit and sexual in nature.
Police say he discussed meeting her at home and he would “show her how to play with a man”.
“We implore parents to speak to kids. I’ve got kids, my kids know about the dangers [of chatting to strangers online],” Det Insp Haddow said.
News of Whales’ arrest shocked not only his family, but his friends and boss.
“It was shock to me. We never had any customers complain,” his boss said.
“He’s a family man. I got shocked, honestly.”
The matter was heard before court on Friday, but there was no sign of Whale.
He instead opted to stay in the cells and that is where he will stay until he appears in court again later this month.