So-called paedophile hunter groups have brought 77 incidents to police attention since June, it has emerged.

Chief Superintendent Paula Hillman told the BBC that the Public Prosecution Service is considering three of those cases.

It comes after it was revealed in the Belfast Telegraph that two alleged paedophiles who were “outed” by an online vigilante group have been attacked by paramilitaries.

The men, who were named on a Facebook page, both live in the greater Belfast area.

They were targeted by the UDA after they were identified on social media.

The groups often pose as children in order to identify people allegedly trying to groom young people before arranging to meet and confronting them while streaming it live on the internet.

Chief Superintendent Hillman urged people involved to allows officers to “stop what they’re doing in terms of turning up at people’s doorsteps, identifying people, acting as the arresting officer and as the judge and jury”.

She said: “We will collate the evidence that we do have, which is our role, and then we will report it to the PPS, whose role it is to assess that evidence to see if it has met the threshold for prosecution.”

She continued: “We do now have a small team of detectives within the public protection branch, across crime operations, who are looking at the cases that have been brought to our attention through these operations streamed on social media.

“To date we have three cases so far reported to the Public Protection Service and we are working closely, we have specific points of contact in the PPS, and those three cases are currently with the PPS for a decision.”

The PSNI urged anyone with information to bring it to police.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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