A post on the Dark Justice Facebook page confirmed that co-founder ‘Callum’ had died in an accident and that pal Scott, who also ran the group, had taken the decision to step away from the organisation.
The Newcastle-based duo launched Dark Justice in 2014 and have kept their identities hidden as they worked with the police to catch sexual predators who prey on children.
Confirming the tragic news on Facebook, Scott said: “This is the hardest post I have ever had to make.
“It is with great sadness I have to announce that Callum, the co-founder of Dark Justice, sadly lost his life in a tragic accident.
“Myself and his family are very upset and broken by this tragic news.
“And with that I need to tell you that I will also be stepping away from Dark Justice.
"I have tried to think of a way to continue but sadly without my best friend I can't see myself continuing.
“I would like to thank you all for the amazing support you have shown us over the last seven years and a thank you to all the other groups out there fighting for the rights of children. In the words of Callum ‘go get em lads!’
“Rest easy bro until we meet again.”
Dark Justice has always stressed that it is not a group run by ‘vigilantes who operate above the law’ but by ‘concerned citizens who work closely with the police to help effect change and keep children safe.’
When conducting their investigations, Dark Justice uses a fake online profile pretending to be a child, telling any men who make contact that they are underage.
If contact persists, the duo arrange a safe location to carry out a sting, calling police when they are spotted at the agreed location.
Dark Justice then hands evidence to police to help get the paedophiles convicted in court.
If someone doesn’t show up for the meeting, the evidence is still handed in to the police and investigated.
Over the years Dark Justice has carried out stings across the North East, including in Sunderland, South Tyneside, Northumberland and Hartlepool.