Police silent over ‘paedo hunter sting’ in Exmouth

PUBLISHED: 14:49 29 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:59 29 March 2018

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A vigilante group claims an Exmouth man has been sending sexual messages to a schoolgirl. Picture for illustration purposes only.

Police have refused to give any information about the outcome of a midnight ‘sting’ in Exmouth carried out by a team of paedophile hunters.

Vigilante group, Justice for the Innocent, twice this week visited the Exmouth home of a middle-aged man they claim has been sending sexual messages to a schoolgirl.

Devon and Cornwall Police refuses to say if an investigation has been launched, or any arrests made.

The information lock-down is because the Journal included a man’s name in a private, not-to-be-published, email request for details to the police press office.

However, the Journal understands the allegations are ‘under review’, but police are not investigating the vigilante claims, and have not made any arrests.

The Journal asked police: “A group calling itself Justice for the Innocent, a group that exposes men who engage in sexual communication with what they believe are underage girls via apps, visited a home in Exmouth, on March 26 and March 25, at around midnight to ‘sting’ a man called [man’s name], who they say has been engaged in sex chats with a ‘decoy’ 13-year-old girl.

“Police also arrived at the address while Justice for the Innocent was there. Officers said [the man] was under investigation.

“Please can I have some information about this and also about the investigation and if any arrests have been made.

“Also, please can I have a comment about Devon and Cornwall Police policy on so-called vigilante paedophile hunter groups turning up at private addresses.”

A police spokesman said ‘you have approached us with a named suspect, as per College of Policing guidelines, we cannot confirm nor deny what you have put to us’.

The Justice for the Innocent team made two midnight visits to a man they claim sent ‘extremely graphic’ messages to a schoolgirl who repeatedly said she was 13 years old.

During the second vigilante visit, police arrived at the address, said Justice for the Innocent.

Police refused to give information of the officers’ visit, or any outcome.

Justice for the Innocent said the man’s messages talk about sex acts involving the schoolgirl and other people.

The group said the man had been talking to a decoy, posing as a schoolgirl.

A spokesman for Justice for the Innocent said the chat log messages to the ‘girl’ from the man were ‘jaw-droppingly bad’.

The vigilante said they were the ‘worst’ he had seen in his time as a paedophile hunter.

He added: “He knew she was 13. She spoke about school. He didn’t care about that; I was so concerned. It was abhorrently bad. It was specified she was 13.

“The most shocking part of it was how graphic it was. I read it and it made me feel uncomfortable.

“I have some chat logs. What he was doing, it was disgusting; really, really bad.

“You have slow groomers; it can take a while, a couple of weeks or months, then you have the ones that just don’t care, within 10 messages they will talk about sex, there’s no filter.”

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