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Police warning over ‘paedophile hunter’

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 12, 2014

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A SO-CALLED paedophile hunter who trapped an innocent Swadlincote man could be posing a serious risk to vulnerable young people and families, police have warned.

Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police said that while the force understands the motivation of the public who want to do as much as possible to protect children, this is a complex issue and should be left to the police to deal with.

The police say the actions of Stinson Hunter could have serious consequences and comes after charges of attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming were dropped against Darren Martin, of St Andrew’s Court, Church Gresley.

The 42-year-old appeared in Derby Crown Court last month after denying the charges and the case was dropped as the prosecution said it offered no evidence against him.

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Stinson Hunter ‘trapped’ Mr Martin in a Swadlincote road after allegedly setting him up to meet a 14-year-old girl. Mr Martin vehemently denied this and later told the Mail that the actions of the so-called paedophile hunter, who targets people by posing as an underage girl and then films the victim when he sets them up to meet, have ruined his life.

A spokesman for the police said: “He could in fact cause vulnerable young people to be harmed. He is also posing a serious risk to the families, including partners and children, of those he is “stinging” and exposing on the internet.

“If Stinson has given any thought at all to the consequences of his actions on those innocent associates of the people he targets, his behaviour would suggest he is reckless as to whether or not this occurs.”

Concern about the type of activity being undertaken by Stinson Hunter has been echoed recently in statements issued by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Both of these organisations have confirmed that such activity is a risk to ongoing investigations, could cause an abuser to harm a child, does not protecting vulnerable victims and could cause potential evidence to be destroyed.

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