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Man charged with child sexual grooming after being confronted by “paedophile hunters”

[A] 53-year-old man will appear at York Magistrates’ Court on Monday (26 March 2018) charged with attempting to meet and have sexual activity with a “14-year-old girl” following online grooming.

Paul Anthony Drake, 53, of Scarborough was arrested near Scarborough Train Station at 11.44am on Saturday (24 March 2018) after being reported to North Yorkshire Police by a so-called “paedophile hunter group” who confronted him.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: “The young “girl” the man was allegedly trying to meet does not exist.

“Following questioning in custody and further police enquiries, he was charged with the offence which comes under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

“He has been remanded in custody and will appear before magistrates in York at 9.15am on Monday.

“North Yorkshire Police will act appropriately on any information which is brought to our attention.

“However, our position on so-called paedophile hunter groups reflects the position of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, in that we understand the desire to protect children but any member of the public who has information about child sexual abuse, online or otherwise, should get in contact with the police so we can investigate and bring people to justice.

“So-called paedophile hunters are taking risks they do not understand and which can undermine police investigations.

“Most importantly, unlike our officers, they have no way of safeguarding child victims.

“In this specific case, it is important to remember that the man has a right to a fair trial. Legal proceedings are now active under the Contempt of Court Act, and we strongly urge people – especially online – not to act in a way which could compromise the course of justice.”

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