IT is hard not to admire the pair of young North-East men who go round trapping internet predators under the mysterious name of Dark Justice.

The 24-year-old man from Darlington and his 21-year-old friend from Newcastle make contact with sexual predators in internet chat rooms, then film them when they turn up in the mistaken belief they are meeting a child.

John Rudd, 57, from Stockton, is beginning a 12 month jail sentence today after being cornered by a Dark Justice sting. He is the second pervert to be jailed due to Dark Justice operations and the pair of paedophile-hunters claim to have another seven men from the region on police bail, with 50 more targets being actively pursued.

The rationale is straightforward: children are at risk; the police do not have the resources to intercept every case of child grooming; Dark Justice, therefore, need to do their bit to support the creaking criminal justice system.

We strongly suspect the majority of our readers – especially parents – will applaud Dark Justice for their actions.

Fighting crime will always be a partnership between the police and members of the public – but there are serious risks involved in DIY justice.

How do Dark Justice know they are not getting in the way of ongoing police investigations? And how long will it be before one of their undercover confrontations ends in violence?

We share the appreciation of their public-spirited efforts but, ultimately, the sharp end of fighting crime has to be left to the professionals.