Vigilante warned over ‘paedophile hunter’ stings

A self-styled 'paedophile hunter' has been told that his actions are putting criminal prosecutions at risk. Picture posed by model
A self-styled 'paedophile hunter' has been told that his actions are putting criminal prosecutions at risk. Picture posed by model
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A VIGILANTE ‘paedophile hunter’ has been warned his actions could leave police struggling to bring suspected criminals to justice.

Shane Brannigan poses as underage girls online and talks to men before arranging to meet them for sex and then calling in police, according to his Facebook page.

The News understands he is due to carry out stings in Portsmouth this week. He has already filmed a man being arrested at Asda in Fratton on Sunday.

But Hampshire police have said any vigilante action could be breaking the law and diverts resources away from investigating child sex abuse.

On his Facebook page, Mr Brannigan posted: ‘People think by posting the stuff I do, it causes a mischief for trials.

‘I don’t care much for convictions, a conviction is just a little brucey!

‘Public exposure is far more a sentence than 12 months and all traces removed from the net.’

In another post he said: ‘Due to the protection and silence of cases against paedophiles, to my mind the biggest sentence is publicly exposing them.

‘I’m not into brushing these things under the carpet and will certainly never turn a blind eye to it.

‘These exposes outweigh any prison sentence handed to these scumbags.’

About 300 people like his Facebook page. Many support his actions when he uploads videos of men online.

He refused to reply to The News when asked why he carries out the stings, if he is worried his actions will jeopardise investigations, how many times he has carried out operations 
and whether he intends to do more in Portsmouth.

In a further post on Saturday he said: ‘I have been asked to work for [the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre] CEOP, police and a private investigator to name just a few. Thing is I don’t and will never do rules and do not like being told what to do.’

A Hampshire police spokesman said: ‘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.’

He added: ‘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.

n A man arrested on suspicion of attempted grooming has been bailed.

The 30-year-old from Reading was arrested on Sunday morning outside Asda in Fratton. He has now been bailed until July 11.