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Two men charged with affray in connection with confrontation of grooming suspect at Bluewater on Easter Sunday

PUBLISHED: 16:05 19 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:05 19 April 2017

Bluewater

Bluewater

Adrian Brooks/Imagewise

Lee John harvey, 20, from Gravesend, and Joe Simpkin, 20, from Erith have been bailed until May 10.

Two men have been charged with affray, after police earlier today voiced concern about self-styled “paedophile hunters” who set up undercover sting operations amid fears they are interfering in their work and potentially entrapping innocent people.

Kent Police said it has “significant concerns about people taking the law into their own hands” and the methods used following recent stings by vigilante groups.

The latest incident happened at Bluewater on Easter Sunday when a brawl erupted after a group called The Hunted One confronted a 29-year-old man.

Live broadcasts of vigilantes confronting suspected groomers have been streamed on The Hunted One Facebook page.

Chief superintendent Thomas Richards, head of public protection, said ‘paedophile hunters’ can compromise investigations.

He said: “We do have concerns about people taking the law into their own hands and the methods they use, and in some cases acting outside of the law, and would strongly advise against getting involved.

“Although seemingly well-meaning, this can significantly hinder our work, compromise on-going investigations and negate months of investigative work.”

In a statement on Facebook, The Hunted One said: “After careful consideration, we have decided that in moving forward we will no longer be going live for the stings as we don’t want cases and evidence ruined after all our hard work in collecting the information for a successful conviction.”

• Mirza Mispa Beg, 29, of no fixed abode, appeared before Medway magistrates on Tuesday after being charged with grooming a teenage girl. He was remanded in custody to appear at Maidstone Crown Court on May 16.

• Lee John Harvey, 20, of The Drive, Gravesend, and Joe Simpkin, 20, of Wheatstone Road, Erith, were each charged with one count of affray on April 19. Both men have been released on bail to attend Medway Magistrates’ Court on May 10.

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