British police officers
Police are now hunting for members of the mob who launched the attacks on two suspected paedophiles.Creative Common

A vigilante paedophile hunter has been arrested for attacking two men, who allegedly tried to meet with underage girls.

The 25-year-old, from Wigan, is being held by Greater Manchester Police on suspicion of assault and blackmail after a violent mob launched the attack against the suspected paedophiles.

The band of vigilantes lure suspected paedophiles into bogus liaisons with under-age girls through social media, and then subject them to violent assaults.

The gang, who then film the attacks to blackmail its victims, have posted at least one video of an assault onto Facebook.

The first incident took place at around 9pm on 17 April in a church car park in Atherton in Wigan when a 19-year-old man arranged to meet what he thought was a 14-year-old girl. As he arrived a group of men confronted him, accusing him of being a paedophile. They attacked him and filmed the incident.

After the man escaped he received messages demanding money and was told that if he did not pay, the group would upload the video to Facebook.

The second incident took place at 2.40pm on 18 April at the Market Place in Wigan. Shoppers witnessed the group accuse a 25-year-old man of arranging to meet a 14-year-old girl online. He was also attacked by one man who head-butted him and knocked out two of his teeth while others in the group filmed him.

Police are now hunting the other members of the mob, who include a woman and a man with a walking stick.

Both men reported the incidents to the police and were also arrested on suspicion of grooming and attempting to meet underage girls.

One of the men, a 25-year-old from Skelmersdale, has been charged with attempting to meet a girl under 16 after grooming. He is due to appear before magistrates in Wigan on 20 April.

The second man, a 19-year-old, has been released on bail on suspicion of committing a similar offence.

Confirming the arrests, Detective Inspector Charlotte Cadden, from Bolton division, said: "I want to make it clear that grooming and arranging to meet up with children you have met over the internet is a criminal offence and if you are caught doing this you will be arrested and prosecuted.

"It is unacceptable that this group are posing as underage girls and meeting up with men with the view to either blackmailing them or attacking them in the street.

"If you have any information regarding these incidents, please contact the police as soon as possible."

Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.