An ex-crook from the north coast of New South Wales who catfishes pedophiles says he's probably Australia's best-liked welfare recipient, but he's not in it for the fame
Rather than punch a card Cameron East – better known as the Coffs Coast Pedo Hunter – spends his time posing as a 14-year-old girl online, amassing evidence on his targets who he then goes and confronts on camera.
Since September he has uploaded seven of his stings to YouTube, garnering tens of thousands of views and plenty of adulation from people who believe the police simply aren't doing enough to keep kids safe from sexual predators.
In one of the videos he has a strangely mundane conversation with his target, who freely admits the Pedo Hunter has him dead to rights.
The pair converse fairly politely, even when Mr East reveals his true feelings about the man.
"I hate c---s like you eh, I'd f---in' love to run you over in a car," the hunter says.
"I'd prefer not to hear that thanks," the prey replies.
Mr East then forces his prize to hand himself in to police – but police say the Pedo Hunter's actions are not particularly helpful, in no small part because much of the evidence he gathers would be inadmissible in court.
"Unfortunately the actions of this person, however well meaning, do not assist NSW Police in our causes," Detective Inspector Darren Jameson told the Herald.
"Our focus in this command in relation to suspected paedophiles is about catching them and putting them before the courts. This type of vigilante behaviour ignores those rules of evidence so...it puts at strong risk the capability for us to obtain a prosecution or conviction in the future."
Mr East, who previously kept his identity anonymous, says he was inspired to become a pedophile hunter by a close friend who was abused as a child.
"The numbers that are out there, there's no way the police would keep tabs on them all," he said. "I just want people to be aware."