Two Cookstown men arrested following ‘paedophile hunters’ sting

Internet Interceptors
Internet Interceptors

Two Cookstown men have been arrested by the PSNI after a woman ‘hunting paedophiles’ online, flew over from England to confront them.

Online videos showed her questioning the men about sexually explicit messages she said they thought they were sending a teenage girl.

But the pair, who were challenged in separate stings and are not connected, had been allegedly messaging an online decoy profile set up by Internet Interceptors on a friendship site.

In reply to their messages, the grown woman said she repeatedly told both men - who are 45 and 47 - that she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

But in footage she later posted online both men can be seen denying they had arranged to meet someone under the age of sexual consent.

Police, who have confirmed the arrest of two men in the Cookstown area on suspicion of attempting to commit child grooming offences on October 27, said “both males were released on police bail pending further enquiries” and that their investigation continues.

One of the men was to have allegedly met the pretend teen at the Abbey Centre in Belfast, on October 27, but when faced with a woman who questioned his behaviour, she said he fled.

The man was later tracked to his home, a call made to police and he was arrested.

The second man, is now understood to have been relocated after a crowd of angry neighbours gathered outside his home in a Cookstown housing estate last week.

The ‘paedophile hunter’ who travelled to Belfast to confront the two men told the Mail last week that the Internet Interceptors want legislation around online grooming to change and that “we want them to get custodial sentences”.

She also told our reporter this was the group’s first operation here and that they “had an aim to get to Ireland” - but wouldn’t reveal why.