Paedophile hunters like Sunderland’s Guardians of the North are more saints than sinners

Guardians of the North are warning that child grooming cases are on the rise.

Guardians of the North are warning that child grooming cases are on the rise.

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Cyber-related sex crime has, the latest statistics tell us, more than trebled in the last year.

Those who want to harm our children are using ever more sophisticated technology to lure youngsters into their clutches.

How satisfying then to learn that those dark arts of the internet are being used to turn the tables on the perpetrators.

Paedophile hunters like Guardians of the North have been responsible for snaring a number of offenders on our doorstep.

They are, however, not without their critics.

Law enforcement authorities have expressed concern at the actions of groups like the Guardians, accusing them of taking the law into their own hands and hindering the work of the police.

It is an argument that can hold true. Without police involvement, some of these self-styled paedophile hunting groups can, however well-intentioned, compromise ongoing police investigations.

There have also been cases, when these groups confront their suspects, where members of the public have been put at risk.

But the good far outweighs the bad, and it is the figures that speak loudest.

As a spokesman for the Guardians of the North group told the Echo: “The numbers of people involved in this kind of activity is staggering and parents need to be aware of it.

“We have caught around 30 people from around the Sunderland area since we started just over a year ago, and the number is 94 in total. There are 30 waiting to go through the court process.”

Groups like the Guardians of the North are involving the police and working within the law.

As long as they continue to do that, their efforts, if not appreciated by all, are welcomed by most.