In the car park of a DIY superstore situated on the edge of the London commuter belt, a very 21st Century law enforcement scenario is waiting to be played out. A "sting" has been prepared over the course of several weeks. But instead of squad cars, two-way radio traffic and uniformed officers there is a man who has never received any police training. He is armed with a mobile phone and, he believes, the moral authority of the people. He is Shane, one of a small but increasingly prominent band of self-styled "paedophile hunters".
Figures obtained by the BBC show 11% of court cases in 2014 for the crime of meeting a child following sexual grooming used vigilante evidence, rising to 44% in 2016. The vigilantes pose online as children then film the people they meet. Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the national lead for child protection at the National Police Chiefs' Council, said: "[These] vigilante groups are putting the lives of children at risk. Reacting to Mr Bailey's statement that the police would think about working with vigilantes, Mr Dure added: "I think it's great and just the idea they're thinking about it excites me.
Some of the leaders of self-styled paedophile-hunting groups operating in Northern Ireland have been identified for the first time. There are increasing concerns about the methods many of the groups use, and their lack of accountability. The so-called paedophile-hunting groups target people online who they believe are sexual predators. They confront them and broadcast the encounter live on the internet, then call the police. There have been more than 100 incidents of this nature reported to police in Northern Ireland, but no one has been charged as a result and there have been no convictions.
A soldier has admitted grooming a child after sending explicit messages over the internet from his Army barracks. Winchester Crown Court heard 25-year-old Craftsman Sam Dallow from Birmingham thought he was contacting a 14-year-old girl. In fact it was self-styled paedophile hunter Shane Brannigan, who handed Wiltshire-based Dallow to the police. A senior police officer warned against vigilante action - saying it risks jeopardising ongoing investigations. Dallow, of 6th Battalion The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, based at Tidworth, admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.
The gunman suspected of opening fire at a church in Texas on Sunday has been identified to Fox News as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley. Kelley, according to officials, killed at least 26 people and wounded approximately 20 after he unleashed a hail of bullets in the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, in the deadliest church shooting in modern U.S. history. JUST IN: This is a photo of Texas shooting suspect 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, CBS News confirms https://t.co/ll0ZgUQFFy The gunman previously served in the U.S. Air Force, an Air Force spokesperson confirmed to Fox News. Kelley served at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 2010 until his discharge.