A SELF-proclaimed “paedophile hunter” has promised to ignore police advice and continue his investigations after securing his first conviction.

David Poole is pleased that Samir Rignall is now off the streets and awaiting a possible prison sentence after admitting a string of offences at Hereford Crown Court last week.

Rignall, 46, had travelled to Hereford Railway Station in the mistaken belief that he was meeting a teenage girl in a sting organised by the vigilante group, H Division.

The group was started by Mr Poole to protect teenagers from online grooming and, despite being asked by police to stop their work, H Division has now staged nine operations and gathered a sizeable global following.

The popularity is such that interested parties have asked Mr Poole for advice on starting similar organisations and a group called H Division South Wales has been created.

“I am speaking to 16 men at the moment who all think they’re chatting to a 14-year-old girl and building trust and a relationship with her,” said Mr Poole.

“I’m not going to stop what I’m doing but will sting as many people as I can.”

Detective Chief Inspector Jon Roberts said while they “understand the motivation of members of the public who want to do as much as possible to protect children”, this is a “complex issue which should be left to the police”.

“Members of the public are strongly advised not to pursue their own investigations; their actions could actually compromise ongoing police investigations and put people at risk,” he added.

“When the police investigate and arrest individuals, they do so as part of a wider operation within which careful consideration is given to any welfare needs of others who could be affected.”

However, Mr Pool said the case of Rignall proves why H Division’s work is needed.

Rignall, of no fixed abode, last week admitted attempting to meet a girl under 16 years of age following grooming.

He also pleaded guilty to attempting to incite a girl aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity as well as breaching a sexual harm prevention order and failing to comply with notification requirements of the sex offenders’ register.

“I think they should bring back the death penalty for these sexual offenders,” added Mr Poole.

“It’s just lucky I was at the train station and not a 14-year-old girl as I don’t know what he was thinking in the back of his mind.”

The Rignall sting was uploaded to H Division’s Facebook page and the group now broadcasts their operation on a live feed via social media.

Two operations carried out last weekend – one of which was on Hereford’s Newton Farm estate – attracted the attention of thousands of people.

“It’s amazing how a little thing in Hereford has taken off nationally and people from Australia are getting up in the middle of the night to watch,” said Mr Poole.

“Our last sting on Friday the man knew of the group and had seen our videos but took that risk that he was meeting a child.”