Two Luton men have been charged after allegedly getting caught in a sting set up by a Dunstable couple.
Using a fake social media profile for a 12-year-old girl, Neil and Katie Ivall say they meet and ‘expose’ alleged paedophiles in public places.
Over the last month the couple have filmed encounters with six men who they allege contacted the fake 12-year-old and asked for a meeting.
Neil and Katie (pictured) have exclusively told the News that they decided to start the campaign after discovering that Katie’s daughter was being targeted on a social media website.
Neil said: “The whole thing started off in our house, my step-daughter was groomed over a period of a year and half by a total of up to four guys.
“While we were looking into that and what these guys were up to we came across others, we decided we could take a couple of these people out.
“It came to light that this is a big problem, after catching the first one there was another one.
“If we had the money and the resources we could do two or three a day, it is rife.”
After deciding to set up a fictional account for a 12-year-old girl the couple were inundated with messages, which continue to flood in now.
Katie responds to those who get in touch, many of whom later ask to meet the ‘young girl’.
The couple strongly deny any suggestion that they are entrapping the alleged paedophiles.
Katie said: “I don’t push the conversation in any way.
“When they do become sexual I’ll act really naive to the situation and I constantly remind them of how old the girl is.
“They start off with a nice normal conversation and then it slowly becomes rude.
“When they ask for pictures I say I’m not comfortable with that.
“There is no entrapment at all...it is purely them who choose to talk that way or ask to meet, it is their choice.”
The couple’s first meeting came with Peter McCallum, 33, from Coventry, who later handed himself in to police.
McCallum pleaded guilty to charges of communicating and attempting to meet two girls under the age of 16.
He will be sentenced at Warwick Crown Court on September 21.
Beds Police has arrested and charged two men in Luton who were handed to them by Neil and Katie.
Other ‘stings’ have taken place in Northampton and Nottingham.
Neil said: “To begin with we had a rough idea what we wanted to do, to ask them questions and see if they would talk about it.
“We get answers and I always put it to them ‘what will your wife say about this?’”
In a statement a Beds Police spokesperson said: “Our advice is to never take the law into your own hands.”
The force added that those not familiar with the legal system ”could put cases in jeopardy and run the risk of genuine offenders not being brought to justice”.
Despite the warning, Neil insists that he and Katie have had the support of officers who have responded to their 999 calls.
He said: “Every time we expose (alleged paedophiles) we go with the evidence we have got and we hand it over to the police that day.”
“The police have not got the time or resources to do what we do, they tell us that themselves.
“They have been very helpful and they support us all the way, they can’t do what we do although they would love to.
“We don’t want to leave it until it is too late, we want to stop it.”