Online paedophile hunters execute sting in Sidmouth

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 July 2018

Woman's hands typing

Woman's hands typing

Archant

Online paedophile hunters have reportedly carried out a daytime ‘sting’ in Sidmouth, after a woman allegedly sent ‘graphic’ messages to someone posing as a schoolgirl.

The vigilante group, calling itself Justice for the Tears, claimed it had evidence of extensive and explicit online conversations from a female attempting to meet an underage girl in the town.

The paedophile hunters told the Herald that they monitored the sex chat, notified police and intercepted the meeting – the alleged abuser had in fact been talking to a decoy and not a real child.

Justice for the Tears teamed up with a group called UK Database, who said they carried out the sting on Saturday.

A spokesman for UK Database said: “The decoy from Justice for the Tears was contacted by a female sexual predator who believed she was talking to a teenage girl and arranged to meet the decoy, along with the decoy’s friend.”

The spokesman claimed they arrived at the meet but the woman had sent a man to collect the decoy.

He added the lead up to the sting was ‘complex’ and had ‘shocked both’ UK Database and Justice for the Tears.

“The decoy did amazingly on the chat log. The work of the two teams has safeguarded real kids,” said the spokesman.

“This case hopefully creates awareness of online grooming, and the dangers, so parents start to realise how rife it is.”

Speaking about the lead up to the Sidmouth sting, the UK Database spokesman said: “The chat log provided was from one of the Justice for the Tears decoys who endured the graphic chat for quite a while.

“Our groups work incredibly hard.

“We have a team of 14 working solid to catch online predators.

“I can’t credit the teams enough; the devotion, drive and passion from all those involved is amazing.”

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokeswoman said a 38-year-old man from Sidmouth was arrested on suspicion of attempting to meet a girl under the age of 16 following grooming.

He was taken to police custody and later released under investigation pending further enquiries.

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