Manchester

Wigan man arrested over Facebook blackmail attacks

A man has been arrested on suspicion of vigilante assaults and blackmail of men alleged to have tried to meet with underage girls, police said.

The 25-year-old man, from Wigan, is being held by Greater Manchester Police in connection with attacks on two men.

One, a 25-year-old from Skelmersdale in Lancashire, has been charged with attempting to meet a girl under 16 following grooming.

The other, 19, has been released on bail on suspicion of a similar offence.

Police said the first incident occurred at about 21:00 BST on Friday when the 19-year-old arranged to meet what he believed was a 14-year-old girl in a church car park in Atherton, near Wigan.

Money demands

On his arrival he was filmed being attacked by a group of men who accused him of being a paedophile.

He escaped but later received messages demanding money and threats the footage would be uploaded to Facebook.

He reported the incident to the police on Saturday, was then arrested and subsequently bailed pending further inquiries.

Later that day, at about 14:40 BST, shoppers at Market Place in Wigan witnessed the Skelmersdale man being assaulted.

He also was accused by a group of arranging online a meeting with a 14-year-old girl. One of the men in the group attacked him, knocking out two of his teeth.

The episode was filmed by the group and has since been posted on the internet.

The man got away and reported the events to the police, who arrested him and charged him with grooming.

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