A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of child grooming offences after being confronted by vigilante paedophile hunters outside Basildon train station.

The group, who call themselves “Dope Live” met the man, believed to be from Harlow, after he travelled to Basildon on Sunday night, before being stopped.

The whole confrontation was streamed live through social media site Facebook on Sunday evening - which lasted for nearly an hour before police arrived and arrested the suspect.

In the video, which has been seen by the Echo, the group accuse the man of sending inappropriate messages to someone he believed was a 13-year-old girl.

They claim the person he was messaging was actually a decoy set up by them to snare suspected sex offenders.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We arrested a man on suspicion of engaging in sexual communication with a child after receiving information from a third party at around 9.25pm on Sunday, September 8.

“The man was arrested at Basildon train station and he remains in custody for questioning.”

Essex Police have previously discouraged similar vigilante groups from carrying out “snares” in this style, insisting the public should contact Essex Police if they have information of this nature.

The NSPCC has also spoken out against self-styled vigilantes tracking down suspected sex offenders too saying these operations must be done by the proper authorities.

However, vigilante groups have grown in prominence across Essex in recent months.

Just last month a man was arrested in Wilmslow, Canvey, on suspicion of inciting sexual activity with a child, after Scales of Justice carried out the sting.

While in July, Malcolm Barnard, who was snared by two paedophile hunters online who were posing as 13 and 14-year-old girls, avoided jail after admitting to his crimes.

Barnard, formerly of Leigh, was confronted on Canvey by paedophile hunters.

He admitted attempting to incite a 14-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity and attempting to cause a 14-year-old girl to watch sexual activity.

He was handed a six month suspended prison sentence.

Despite the warnings from both Essex Police and the NSPCC against tracking down suspected sex offenders, the groups carry on their stings.