And while police officially blast the groups for “obstructing justice”, behind closed doors many coppers welcome their assistance.
A police insider said: “The reality is grass-roots cops quite welcome what the paedophile hunters are doing, as we are so stretched for manpower.
Stinson, now 36, briefly stopped paedophile hunting a year ago because he felt “sickened” by the acts of certain copycat groups.
LEERING behind his computer, pervert Mark Cardwell arranged to meet a 12-year-old girl, typing: “I can teach you all sorts.” He encouraged another youngster to tell her parents she was going on a sleepover so she could meet him, then set up a mattress in the back of his van.
But little did he know, the hunter had become the hunted.
Scott agrees that the police are happy with their help, saying: “The top brass might not like us, but I think individual coppers are on our side — we get results.” But sometimes groups’ stings do not go to plan in eventual trials.
Yesterday a man who believed he was going to meet two young girls for sex walked free from court.
Parkes was later arrested by police but had not been charged.