Members of a Fleetwood anti-paedophile group were cornered and allegedly attacked by angry locals as they apprehended a suspected predator.
Members of Fleetwood Enforcers UK, a self-proclaimed child protection organisation, were cornered by a mob in Coventry yesterday while carrying out a sting along with members of Children’s Voices, a similar group.
The group had arrived in the area to meet a 56-year-old man after it was alleged he had exchanged inappropriate online messages with an undercover volunteer who he thought was a 14-year-old child.
After confronting the man and calling the police, they were set upon by angry members of the public
Members of Fleetwood Enforcers UK and Children’s Voices formed a barrier between the mob and the man, who was suspected of a child sex offence
In a livestreamed video, at least three women and two men could be seen approaching the group, with one woman shouting ‘you can’t run, you can’t hide’.
They then cornered the Fleetwood Enforcers and Children’s Voices volunteers and the 56-year-old target, shouting abuse.
One woman could be heard shouting, “We’ve had loads of nonces on our street and we’re sick of it,” later adding, “I’m going to smash his head off a brick wall.”
Members of Children’s Voices begged for calm as they waited for police to arrive, but were accused of protecting the man, and scuffle was seen to break out.
Police then arrived and arrested the 56-year-old, who was later released on bail.
A West Midlands police spokesman said: “A 56-year-old man was arrested from an address in Coventry on August 22 for arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence. He has been released on police bail while our investigation continues.”
Following the incident, which was viewed online by hundreds of horrified people, the angry mob followed the volunteers as they returned to their van. One man threatened: “I’m going to get my dog to eat every single one of youse.”
Furious locals approach the group and the 56-year-old male suspect
Afterwards, a spokesman for Fleetwood Enforcers UK said: “We literally had to run to the van. We had a couple of fights on the way. Apparently they think we’re protecting this guy because we were getting him locked up. So some barmy a****** decided that he wanted to have a go. He certainly didn’t like the fact that I was eyeing him. He had to be pulled away several times. He’s busted the wing mirror…
“They came out with bottles. One guy had a screwdriver, I’m pretty sure. It looked like a screwdriver in his hand. It could have been keys. And they didn’t give a **** that we were there. They wanted him and they would have gone through us, and the fact that we wouldn’t let them – that was enough in their mind to come at us.”
A Children’s Voices volunteer said: “A couple of us have been assaulted, but… the sexual predator has been arrested. The whole team’s perfectly fine. It got a bit dangerous out there. We are all OK, it’s just a bit of a rowdy neighbourhood I guess.”
On its Facebook page, the Fleetwood group later blamed the incident on people giving out the location of the sting as it unfolded. They said: “Thank you for all the messages and concerns. I can confirm the team are safe.
A scuffle broke out when volunteers refused to hand the man over to the angry people
“They were assaulted and their vehicle was damaged, this is unacceptable, all due to individuals giving out (the) location. These people will be banned from our page and we are now considering our options regarding doing live stings.”