Sixty nine year old Brian Thearle pictured from Lake on the Isle of Wight has been arrested by Police after an other successful sting by Wight Ranger.
Brian allegedly turned up to meet a 13 year old boy for sex following alleged online grooming.
He arrived at Battery Gardens at the top of Lake Hill where he was met by a member of WightRangers.
Hampshire Constabulary have confirmed that the man has been arrested and questioned at Newport Police Station.
A spokesperson for Hampshire Police said:
“In relation to so-called ‘Paedophile Hunters’ – vigilantes who proactively seek to identify alleged paedophiles online and then expose them – Hampshire Constabulary adheres to the national position as outlined by the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation & Online Protection (CEOP) command.”
This position is outlined in the following NCA statements:
While we understand the public’s desire to protect their children from online abuse, we do not encourage action of this kind, which can compromise ongoing investigations into paedophile networks and could spark an abuser to further harm a child if they feel threatened. Those who take this approach to exposing paedophiles could be breaking the law and may find themselves at the centre of an investigation or prosecution. Identifying alleged paedophiles is best left to the police who can ensure vulnerable victims are protected.
Police forces have reported these cases to CEOP and work with them to investigate the allegations.
The police rely on the assistance of the public in preventing and detecting crime. Working closely with communities is a vital way in which we gain information, and their active engagement in fighting crime helps us do our job.
Cases involving child sex abuse are extremely serious and have a huge emotional impact, not only on the victims but on whole families, and the communities in which they take place. We understand the desire to protect children but any member of the public who has information about child sexual abuse, online or otherwise, should get in contact with the police so we can investigate and bring people to justice.
Revealing the identity of suspected paedophiles gives the suspect the opportunity to destroy evidence before the police can investigate them. It also leads to people who have been identified going missing or raising concerns for their safety. This can divert significant resources into protecting suspects, which would be better invested in investigating, and where there is evidence, prosecuting them.
If any member of the public has concerns about online grooming, they should report them to their local police, to CEOP at www.ceop.police.uk or to Crimestoppers. If you think a child is at immediate risk of harm, call 999.
Watch the moment Brian is Stung by the Wight Ranger Team: