A retired fisherman from Moray followed children after trying to strike up a conversation with them in a convenience store.
Alexander Smith eavesdropped on the youngsters’ discussions before starting to quiz them, Elgin Sheriff Court heard yesterday.
The 65-year-old initially asked the girls, who were aged 15, 12 and 10, what their favourite flavour of crisps were before asking one of them what the name of her boyfriend was.
Fiscal Robert Weir told the court the youngster replied “John” because it was the “first name that came into her head”.
Smith then lied to the girl and said that his name was also John, Mr Weir added.
When the pensioner was leaving the Scotmid store on Southfield Drive, Elgin a short time later on June 11 last year he stopped to watch the 10-year-old doing cartwheels.
Mr Weir said when the children started to walk away Smith followed them on Thornhill Road and Reiket Lane.
He said: “The children crossed the road and so did the accused, following behind them. At this point the children started to run and the accused quickened his pace for a short period.
“The children then ran into a lane and footpath near a cemetery and got away.”
One of the children later reported the incident to their brother who contacted the police.
Yesterday, Smith admitted behaving in a threatening or abusive manner when he appeared in court.
Defence solicitor Iain Maltman explained that alcohol had been “an issue” on the day.
Sheriff Olga Pasportnikov said: “Given you are a first offender and not considered a risk then I’m willing to allow you the
chance to show this was an isolated incident.”
Smith, of Langstane Place, New Elgin had his sentence deferred until November 23.