A DOCUMENTARY has captured an undercover policing team catching a paedophile in Basildon.

Undercover Policing: Hunting Paedophiles concluded on Channel 4 last night, documenting the lead up to the arrest of Denis Sweeney at Basildon Bus Station.

Sweeney, aged 40 at the time from Church Road, Basildon, had been talking to what he thought was a 14-year-old boy on the dating app Grindr.

However, the "boy" was in fact an undercover police officer, trying to protect other young people from men like Sweeney from exploitation.

READ MORE: Paedophile Denis Sweeney snared on dating app 

Southend Standard:

Sweeney being led away

Sweeney was confronted by police in 2019 after sexualised messages were sent by him to the child, and calling the user, named "Oli", a "naughty boy" for being on there.

Sweeney was sentenced in December 2019 and was given a community order due to him already serving time on remand.

Southend Standard:

The officer reading the Echo's article on Sweeney

Upon reading the Echo's coverage of the sentencing, the undercover officer said: “Very disappointing. I can’t think of hardly any crime worse than that which he was intending to do. And to be given a non-custodial outcome I think is madness."

The documentary previously documented Martin Latimer's attempts to meet a child for sex in Basildon, only to be snared.

Speaking about the issue, the undercover officer said the problem is widespread.

He said: "Hundreds I would suggest, there is a lot of them, and that’s just on one site, if you multiply that by all the different platforms that are out there and all the different regions in the UK, it’s pretty mind-boggling.

“This isn’t something that’s going to go away, you can’t arrest your way out of this problem, because for every person you identify, whose got a sexual interest and wants to exploit children, there will be a number to fill their space.”

Southend Standard:

Sweeney at Basildon Police Station