A MAN set up a fake profile on an Internet dating site to lure his ex-lover to a blind date in a pub, a court heard.

Stephen Peters, 50, began the deception just weeks after his relationship with the woman came to an end.

Now he has been handed a suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to harassment.

Peters had already been ordered by police not to contact his former lover.

But he ignored the warnings and “tricked” his ex in to a meeting – by setting up a bogus account on the Internet dating site Plenty of Fish and contacted the woman without revealing his true identity, a court heard.

He started the deception just weeks after the pair had ended their three-month relationship – having met using the same dating service.

Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court was told how Peters gained the trust of the primary school worker using his false account in January and February, and they agreed to meet in a pub.

It was only when she saw him in the bar that she realised she had been “duped”, magistrates heard.

Peters, of Cobham Grove, Whiteley, later pleaded guilty to harassment without violence by contacting the woman via telephone, text and online.

When asked to explain his actions, he told the court he had been under “severe stress” at the time due to problems with another former partner.

He said he had regarded the woman as a “prop and a reliance” while trying to come to terms with those problems.

Peters told the court he had set up the dating account because he was curious as to how his ex would react about the break up when asked about it by someone else.

At the time he had taken the view that she realised it was him who was contacting her on the dating site. Peters added that he had no intention of trying to contact the woman again as he now found her to be “a dislikeable character”.

Magistrate Alan Fair said Peters’ behaviour was “sophisticated” and that the woman involved had felt as though she had been “deliberately tricked” in to seeing him again.

He added: “We are dealing with a serious offence here. You put that lady through quite a lot.”

He was handed a four-week jail term, suspended for 12 months as well as 18 “specified activity” sessions over a 12 month period. Peters was also fined £165.