Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

'Paedophile hunters' in violent clash with man at shopping centre

A brawl erupted at a shopping centre after a vigilante group of "paedophile hunters" confronted a man suspected of grooming a 14-year-old girl.

The 29-year-old man was met by the members of the group called "The Hunted One" at the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Greenhithe, Kent, on Easter Sunday.

A Facebook Live video showed one of the group ask the suspect "You're here to meet a child for sex, yeah?"

When questioned, the man denied the group's suggestions and said that the girl, who he had been in contact with on an online chatroom, had told him she was aged "18 plus".

As the confrontation continues, a man in a red top attacks the suspect and can be seen kicking and punching him as several people try to contain the situation.

Security guards from the shopping centre step in to prevent any further violence before police officers arrive.

Detective Chief Inspector Emma Banks, of Kent Police, said a 29-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of grooming and officers were investigating the disturbance.

She said: "Officers from Kent Police arrested a 29-year-old man from East London at Bluewater Shopping Centre on suspicion of grooming at 2.27pm on Sunday 16 April 2017.

"The arrested man is in custody. Police are also investigating a disturbance which took place in connection with this incident.

"I strongly discourage people taking the law into their own hands to avoid them and others including individuals which may have been wrongfully identified, being put in any danger. Any acts of violence reported will always be fully investigated and enquiries into this incident are ongoing."

A request from the Press Association for comment from The Hunted One was declined.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph