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Police: Dark Justice sting was too risky

Northumbria Police say they do not condone the actions of 'Dark Justice' - the group which has brought a paedophile to justice by tricking him online.

John Rudd, 57, from Stockton, was jailed for a year today and placed on the Sex Offenders' Register for ten years after admitting a charge of attempting to meet a child after secular grooming.

He'd been snared by Dark Justice, after members of the group posed as a 14 year old girl online, and arranged to meet Rudd.

The say Dark Justice should have carried out such an operation themselves.

We note the sentencing today at Newcastle Crown Court. We'd like to make it clear that Northumbria Police does not advocate people carrying out such 'investigations' themselves. There are many risks associated with this - these groups are not aware of full details of the person they are dealing with, they have no way of safeguarding potential child victims and their actions could jeopardise ongoing police investigations, not to mention the risks posed to themselves. They can also lead to the diverting of significant resources into protecting suspects, which would be better invested in investigating and prosecuting suspected offenders. We have specialist officers who are trained to deal with and investigate this type of crime working alongside partner agencies - I'd urge people to leave it to the police. Cases involving child sexual abuse have a huge emotional impact on not only victims and families, but also on the general public who may not be directly involved and we understand the desire to protect children. However, we would urge anyone with information on crimes of this nature, online or otherwise, to contact police. We rely on the assistance of the public in preventing and detecting crime. Working closely with communities is a vital way in which we gain information, and their active engagement in fighting crime and bringing offenders to justice."

– Detective Superintendent George Duff, Northumbria Police

Caught on camera: the moment John Rudd is confronted by paedophile-hunters 'Dark Justice'

This is the moment that John Rudd realised that the 14 year old girl he thought he was meeting on the Millennium Bridge turned out to be members of paedophile-hunting group Dark Justice.

'You can hide but the police are on their way' he is told.

Thanks to their efforts, Rudd, from Stockton-on-Tees, was today jailed for one year and placed on the Sex Offenders' Register for ten years.

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Paedophile jailed after 'Dark Justice' sting on Tyneside

John Rudd. Credit: Dark Justice

A man who thought he was meeting a 14-year-old girl but was being tricked by a group of internet paedophile hunters has been jailed for a year at Newcastle Crown Court.

John Rudd, 57, from Appleton Road, Stockton, Teesside, contacted a fake profile set up by the group Dark Justice, and arranged a meeting even after being told the "girl" was under-age.

When Rudd travelled to Newcastle for the illegal rendezvous, he was shocked to find two men in their 20s armed with a video camera waiting for him on the Millennium Bridge.

Rudd was arrested minutes later, and Dark Justice made statements to the police.

The sex offender was charged with attempting to meet a child after secular grooming.

He admitted the offence and was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court, just yards from where Dark Justice's sting operation took place in November.

Judge Penny Moreland jailed him for a year and placed him on the Sex Offenders' Register for 10 years.

The vigilantes, who describe themselves as concerned citizens, set up a profile on the site Badoo in the name Donna.

When Rudd was caught, Dark Justice filmed him saying: "I just feel stupid."

Dark Justice revealed outside the court that members wear bullet-proof vests for their meetings.

They hope publicity might make paedophiles reconsider trying to meet children, and raise awareness among parents.

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New body to promote region's automative industry

Assembly line at Nissan. Credit: PA

A major new body to promote and support the growth of the North East's automotive industry officially opens for business today.

The North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA) is an industry-led organisation which brings together major names including Nissan, Nifco, Komatsu, Sevcon and Hyperdrive.

The industry generates £7 billion in sales for the NorthEast and is responsible for £5.1 billion in exports.

The sector directly employs 26,000 people and impacts on a further 141,000 jobs.

A spokesman says around 8,500 people in the industry are due to retire in the next 10 years, leaving skills gaps - and this is one of the areas NEAA will be working to address.

It will also work at attracting new companies and jobs to the region, supporting business excellence and best practice.

There are many opportunities ahead for companies in the automotive industry in North East England to win new business in the UK and from overseas and to improve their competitiveness and capability. The North East Automotive Alliance will provide the platform for making sure companies in the North East are able to take full advantage.”

– Kevin Fitzpatrick, Nissan’s Vice President for Manufacturing in the UK
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