A paedophile hunter has claimed he has never had a police officer say they "had a problem" with what he was doing, amid calls for the self-styled vigilantes to stop confronting suspected abusers.
West Yorkshire Police issued the warning after five paedophile hunters were arrested in Leeds on suspicion of wrongly imprisoning members of the public, assault and public order offences.
Appearing on the Mike Graham show, hunter Scott from the group Dark Justice, said he had never been told to stop hunting suspected paedophiles by police.
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"I've never had an officer say directly to me that they've got a problem with what I'm doing," he said.
"They don't have the money or the time to be doing this. They're chasing the same shoplifter every week when they would love to be doing what we're doing."
Paedophile hunter groups exist across the country, with volunteers posing as children and young people on fake social media accounts, in an effort to ensnare potential abusers.
'These people come looking for us'
"Sadly, these people come looking for us, we don't go looking for them," Scott explained.
"School holidays is a busy season. Sadly our accounts will start booming three or four times more than they would during the normal week."
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The Newcastle-based paedophile hunter claims to have caught 164 people since he set up in 2014, with 98 of those convicted.
"Behind closed doors do you think every police force in the country is bothered by someone catching a sex offender?" he said.