UK & World News
Paedophile Hunting Group Leads To Arrests
A group of parents who aim to trap potential paedophiles by posing as teenagers online has told Sky News it is providing a valuable service.
The mothers and fathers from the Midlands have set up around 80 fake profiles on Facebook, chatrooms and dating websites pretending to be underage girls.
They then collect information about possible sex offenders and arrange to meet them.
Instead of a teenage girl turning up, the target is confronted by a team of adults, a video camera and a dossier of the alleged offences.
Police have confirmed that four arrests have been made as a result of the video evidence gathered by the group.
They have confronted individuals in Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire.
The leader of the group, known as 'Scumm Buster', told Sky News he had set up the group in January after finding out a friend had been abused as a child.
He said all the members had children and wanted to keep them safe.
He added that the group had approached police to make sure they were gathering the right kind of evidence to help prosecutions.
When asked whether their actions were counterproductive, Scumm Buster said: "We know we are ruining people's lives, but they don't seem to care that they are ruining children's lives."
But police forces have warned the activities could interfere with criminal proceedings.
In a statement, Leicestershire Police said: "The main focus of any paedophile investigation has to be the victim - protecting the victim, getting justice for the victim.
"Unfortunately, these kinds of public naming and shaming activities can actually have a negative effect on victims of child abuse.
"While we understand the strong feelings that motivate this kind of activity, it can seriously affect the chances of success in court, preventing victims from getting justice and increasing the chances of offenders walking free.
"The best thing people can do, if they have evidence of child abuse or paedophile activity, is report it to the police, Crimestoppers or the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) so that we can conduct a thorough investigation and make sure measures are put in place to ensure the safety of any potential victims."