Over 40,000 people watched a Facebook Live stream on Tuesday evening, in which a male suspect was confronted by members COST (Child Online Safety Team).
The incident unfolded near Grey’s Monument. The man was later arrested on suspicion of attempting to meet an under-age girl following grooming, and is currently being quizzed by detectives.
However Detective Chief Inspector Sharon Chatterton from Northumbria Police’s cybercrime department has now fired a warning to groups not to “take the law into their own hands”.
“Protecting vulnerable people is an utmost priority for Northumbria Police and we have dedicated teams focused solely on protecting those who are most at risk of being targeted by sexual predators,” she said.
“Online child abuse activist groups know that we do not advocate this type of action and our message has always been that members of the public should not try and take the law into their own hands.
“We understand the desire to protect children but any member of the public who has information about child sexual abuse, online or otherwise, should get in contact with the police.”
A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a 25-year-old man was arrested near Grey’s Monument, Newcastle yesterday (Monday) shortly after 8pm on suspicion of attempting to meet an under-age girl following grooming.
“He currently remains in police custody.”