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A landmark case at Newcastle Crown Court last month ruled that evidence
from so-called paedophile hunters can be used to gain a conviction.
Some say the activities of these groups jeopardise police work
and that it's vigilantism, but it's getting results
In this exclusive report, Andrew Hartley's been to meet
members of one of the country's leading paedophile hunter
Don't start turning on the tears with me...
Because if there was a real child to meet you here tonight,
Darren Heywood from Stockton had thought he was meeting
For 16 days, he had been grooming her and another girl
But he'd really been talking to this man.
What we're doing is making a difference.
Joe Jones is a full-time activist with Guardians of the North.
Joe claims his crew of undercover volunteers has caught more than 80
would-be sex offenders in the year since the group was set up.
We've got people serving prison sentences.
Carly, not her real name, is also a member.
We've agreed to hide her identity because of fears for her safety.
Today she's agreed to show me how they operate on Facebook.
Within minutes, Carly has five adults chatting online.
Oh, they're nice clothes that you've got on.
Children will think that this person is just being nice and friendly.
Some people say what you're doing is entrapment.
It's not because we give them every opportunity
Are you, as some people allege, vigilantes?
No, because a vigilante takes the law into their own hands
whereas we gather the evidence, and everything that we gather
Many of those caught by Guardians of the North end up here,
Newcastle Crown Court, and are jailed.
So you'd think the police would appreciate their work.
The body that represents the country's top police officers
says the activities of groups such as Guardians of the North can put
And in a statement, Northumbria Police urged members
of the public not to take the law into their own hands.
Meanwhile, at Durham Crown Court, it's time for Darren
There too is Jo, who's hoping Heywood will go to prison.
Heywood admits a charge of inciting a child to sexual activity and he's
We're glad this man's off the streets.
Child abuse has dominated the headlines in recent years,
and many now believe there's a need for urgent action.
Guardians of the North says it's simply acting on that demand.
Police have named a man found dead in Newcastle.
21-year-old Paul Brettwood was discovered by officers
called out to Joan Street in Benwell early yesterday.
A 29-year-old man who was arrested has since been released.
The Mayor of Copeland, the West Cumbrian district once
dubbed the fattest in England, says the council is doing
In 2014, more than three quarters of those who lived
Although that figure has dropped, the borough's now signed up
to a programme to improve fitness and wellbeing.
Whitehaven, the main town in Copeland, enjoys
But in 2014, it's idyllic facade hid an embarassing secret.
Too many people here were overweight or obese.
For mayor of Copeland Mike Starkie, tackling poor
We are getting out into the primary schools and talking
I think just by highlighting the issue and making people aware
of some of the things that caused the issue and some of the things
that can possibly solve it, will go a long way to improving matters.
It's easy to eat on the move here, convenience is everywhere.
These people think that plays a part in poor diet.
People my age have all the time in the world but the young ones
There are a lot of restaurants in Whitehaven.
But for Mike Starkie, it's not about intervening in the market,
but encouraging people to make their own decisions.
You cannot make choices for people and the reality is the types
of foods that are sold in these fast food outlets, you can go
into the supermarkets and buy those foods much cheaper out
Copeland Council says leisure activities are now
It believes it can encourage a leaner, fitter future.
An ?8 million scheme to transform Middlesbrough's 128-year-old town
The council-led project involves creating a top-class entertainment
venue as well as revealing some of the building's hidden secrets.
It's been home to some of the world's best musicians,
from Elgar to Rachmaninov, from Bowie to Oasis.
But now, Middlesbrough's town hall is being transformed.
There'll be new bars, coffee shops and restaurants.
Improvements that it's claimed will make this the jewel
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something
to a building of this importance to the town.
It's the biggest music venue in the area.
It's got nearly 130 years of history of gigs,
fantastic comedy shows, live music, classical music,
The building's past, hidden from public view,
will also be restored, including the old court room
and the police station along with its cells.
Complete with the original graffiti scrawled on the doors.
Some people have seen it on behind-the scenes-tours in the past.
But they'll only have seen it as storage space
Now we're going to open it up cfully for the public to appreciate
the heritage of Middlesbrough Town Hall.
It's hoped the transformed town hall will reopen next April.
Stuart Whincup, BBC Look North, Middlesbrough.
Four more plaques honouring local heroes from Tyneside have been
unveiled in a burgeoning Walk of Fame along the quayside.
And today, most of the latest nominations for hero status
were on hand to see their names revealed in bronze.
Time was you lived, you died and, if you'd been especially memorable,
they might put up a plaque to remind people of who you were.
Now here, if you fit the bill, they'll create a plaque, as they did
For the last four years, Gateshead and Newcastle have set
these bronze plaques into pavements around the Tyne Riverside.
Today, the actor Tim Healey, broadcaster Mike Neville,
former AC/DC frontman Brian Johnson and historian John Grundy
I'm very lucky because this is just my hobby.
If you find a hobby that you get paid for,
Across the river, practically under the Tyne Bridge, one symbol
I never expected to be remembered, really.
And just yards further on, Brian Johnson couldn't make it
We're obviously really proud and Dad's really proud and thrilled.
We're just really happy we could come and be here today.
Back to the Newcastle side and a fitting end to our circuit
with the man who knows every inch of it.
This area and this place is the heart of the city,
and the city's right in my heart as well.
It's a place of immense historical significance and tremendous beauty.
I really do feel so lucky to be a permanent part of it now.
Gerry Jackson, BBC Look North, Tyneside.
OK, time for the weather now and it's been
a gorgeous day today, Paul.
There is a lot of cloud building up, maybe they can offer the odd spot
here in there. Amada night and the last few nights. Tomorrow, a few
bright spells around but more cloud around and that cloud will bring
showery outbreaks of rain as we head towards and through the afternoon.
Some of those showers could be on Some of those showers could be on
the heavy side, maybe even a rumble of thunder. There is more rain to
come tomorrow night. The temperatures 11 Celsius.
Temperatures picking up on the North Yorkshire coast but mist and low
cloud developing. There will be some rain to come tomorrow night. It
should clear away as we head through the course of Saturday so most
places drying up the time. More rain places drying up the time. More rain
on Saturday night in the Sunday without mixture of sunshine and
showers. After the overnight rain on Friday night, Saturday dries up the
many places, temperatures in the mid teens, a brisk south-westerly wind,
and sunshine and showers on Sunday. We want to see the economy
work for everybody, not Now the weather.
, yes a humid dead. We have had photographs of the
Now, humid air is coming in hyped. This cloud will be spreading
northwards bringing rain and showers. More cloud will