'Paedophile hunters' issue warning after man is arrested in Chesterfield

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A man has been arrested on suspicion of grooming offences in the Chesterfield area, police have confirmed this afternoon.

The arrest comes after a group of 'paedophile hunters' met a man yesterday and broadcast the rendezvous live on the social networking site Facebook.

A Derbyshire Constabulary spokesman said: "A man in his 40s was arrested yesterday in the Chesterfield area on suspicion of alleged grooming offences.

"He is currently in police custody and enquiries are ongoing."

The group of 'paedophile hunters' has posted this warning on its Facebook page: "Can we please ask you not to put any photos of his partner or children on Facebook.

"They are innocent in all of this.

"His family are heartbroken with the events.

"Please do not go anywhere near their house.

"We don't condone any acts of violence towards them."

The group has posted a name and a picture of the suspect on its Facebook page.

We have chosen not to publish these details at this stage for legal reasons and on the basis of advice from police and the NSPCC.

However, if the suspect is charged, the police will publicly reveal his name and we will report this and cover his court appearances.

Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for child protection, said: "Revealing the identity of suspected paedophiles gives the suspect the opportunity to destroy evidence before the police can investigate them.

"It can jeopardise ongoing police investigations and these people have no way of safeguarding child victims.

"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.

"There's also the risk of wrongly accusing someone.

"If someone is wrongly accused of being a paedophile in a hugely public way that makes people who live with them, live near them, work with them assume they have committed the offence.

"The temptation to kill themselves may be just as great even if they are innocent.

"That's an appalling consequence to contemplate."

An NSPCC spokesman added: "While we have every sympathy for people concerned about suspected abusers, there are risks when members of the public take the law into their own hands.

"It can run the risk of driving offenders underground, jeopardise ongoing and complex police work or result in innocent people being harassed - all of which may put more children at risk of harm."

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