I'm a paedophile hunter who has caught a 1,000 predators & I apologised to barber wrongly stung in a set up

‘Michael’ from The Child Safety Online Team based in Newcastle travels the length of the county exposing paedophiles who target child online.
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A paedophile hunter who has helped police catch more than 1,000 predators has apologised to a Lancashire barber wrongly targeted in a sting.

‘Michael’ from The Child Safety Online Team based in Newcastle travels the length of the county exposing paedophiles who target child online.

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To date the team have helped to catch 1,000 paedophiles across the UK in just eight years.

But a recent sting operation involving a barber from Penwortham didn’t go exactly to plan.

The team got wind of an account having inappropriate contact with children. Their investigations wrongly led them to Shizad Hussain, who runs Bladez barber shop in Leyland Lane.

Shizad Hussain was wrongly targeted in a paedophile stingShizad Hussain was wrongly targeted in a paedophile sting
Shizad Hussain was wrongly targeted in a paedophile sting

The vigilante team, known for filming their sting operations accosted Shiz as he sat in his car outside his shop.

They questioned him and took his phone.

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However, the group did not film the encounter because they were ‘unsure’ Shiz was the man responsible.

Michael said: “When we deployed to Penwortham to see Shiz we did not live stream the encounter or out Shiz on Facebook.

“We didn’t do this as something about this case felt off.

“Our plan was to call the phone we knew had been in contact with our adult decoy - an adult posing as a child - and then if he had the phone on him we would have gone live at that point.”

However, after speaking to Shiz and gathering more information the team managed to track down another suspect.

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These details cannot be shared as they form part of an active police investigation.

Mr Hussain said the sting, which led to his arrest, was intimidating and has ‘ruined his life’.

He says he was so scared he locked himself in the shop’s toilet for four days.

He was forced to close his barber shop for two months as he desperately fought to prove his innocence. He said the trauma of being falsely accused of such an abhorrent crime has seriously affected his mental health.

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Michael said: “I have apologised to Shiz directly. I’m actually going to see Shiz and his brother some time this week when I get off work.

“The only mention of Shiz on our page was when we said he was a victim of a set up. We got his permission to name him before we published.

“Our aim is to keep children safe.”

Last week, Shizad reopened his barber shop in Middleforth as he bravely began rebuilding his shattered life and livelihood.

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He said: "I would firstly like to apologise to all my customers for taking much time off since January this year.

"I was arrested with some serious allegations for which I am now cleared. The allegations affected myself, my work and my family.

"I had no access to my phones nor my Facebook page. I have since been working hard with my mental health and trauma which wasn't easy but I have been taking everyday as it comes.

"I also would like to thank my customers and friends in Penwortham who helped me so much with dealing with my day to day.

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"Bladez Barbershop is now open daily and running as usual. Again my sincere apologies for the time taken off."

Bladez barbershopBladez barbershop
Bladez barbershop

The community has rallied around Shizad with many urging people to use the barbers as a show of support.

Speaking about how he got into the paedophile hunting arena, Michael said he had first hand experience of the horror child paedophiles can cause.

He said: “My motivation for doing what I do is I had a friend whose daughter had been targeted online by a paedophile. Police were unable to catch the person responsible.

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“I went online and did some digging. I found the man at a barracks down south, drove there, marched into the barracks and dragged him out. I then held on to him until police arrived.

“In that search I met lots of people in the same field, who shared their tips and advice.

“In the last week I have handed over multiple people to police.

“I work closely with the police.

“I believe we have a very serious issue with paedophiles in this country.”