“It’s their own fault for looking like weirdoes, innit?” opines twenty year old Portsmouth man Darren Titt, as he stands outside the local Magistrates Court, having been released on bail, following his arrest for attempting to burn down a house used by the local authority to house vulnerable adults with learning difficulties. “How was I to know they weren’t bloody paedophiles? I mean, they were wearing thick glasses and never used to speak to anyone else on the estate!” The apparently furtive behaviour of the hostel’s occupants had fuelled rumours already circulating around the Blotcher housing estate in Cosham that a number of sex offenders released from prison ‘on licence’ had been housed under fake identities in the area. “I don’t blame the lads for taking action,” says fifty two year old local resident Jack Dobber. “Those creepy bastards in that house were acting bloody suspiciously – they wouldn’t look anybody in the eye and they’d run off if anyone shouted at ‘em from across the estate!” The victims’ failure to engage in the estate’s normal communal activities, including weekend binge drinking, petty theft and bare knuckle fighting, further aroused suspicion. The final straw seems to have been when they were accused of taking an unhealthy interest in the local children. “Those freaks wuz always lookin’ at kiddies playin’ near that house, no normal bloke does a thing like that,” Titt claims. “They should never have put ’em in a house next to a playground.” Consequently, Titt and a gang of associates waged a campaign of terror against the supposed ‘halfway house’ for alleged ‘sex offenders’, daubing ‘Nonces’ in red paint on the walls, urinating through the letter box, and smashing the windows with bricks. “We were just trying to scare them off, we never meant to hurt them,” he claims. “If they’d just got the message and buggered off like normal people, we’d never have had to burn the place down!” Luckily, nobody was hurt in the blaze which gutted the house. Nevertheless, Titt remains unrepentant about his actions, still believing that he and his gang were doing the local community a favour. “Even if they weren’t kiddie fiddlers, it was only a matter of time before they started doing it – it’s well known that nonces are all mentally subnormal,” says the unemployed sewer operative’s mate, who was excluded from school at sixteen, with no qualifications. “I was only doin’ what any normal bloke would do – protectin’ the interests of my child. The thought of her being drooled over by one of those weirdoes makes my skin crawl. Blokes who want to have sex with underage girls want stringin’ up!” Titt’s two year old daughter currently lives twenty miles away in Southampton, with his estranged sixteen year old partner.

Support in the local community for Titt and his gang – who are due to appear at Portsmouth Crown Court next month – is surprisingly strong. “People go on about the youth of today having no respect and being delinquents, but Darren and his mates are a shining example,” wheezes Jack Dobber. “We’re bloody lucky to have lads like that round here – lads who are willing to uphold good old fashioned values!” According to Dobber there is a long tradition of vigilantism on the local estates. “People round here like to keep their own houses in order,” he says. “We don’t like these new sex criminal types, they’re not like your good old-fashioned criminals. You can understand robbing, GBH and maybe even the odd murder if the victim had it coming, but this interfering with people is just disgusting! Time was that kids were safe to roam the streets here knowing the worst that could happen to them was being smacked in the face and having their dinner money pinched – nowadays they’re just as likely to get felt up or buggered!” The attack on the Blotcher estate isn’t the first incident of its kind, two years previously a house on the nearby Scutter estate was attacked by local vigilantes who believed it was being used to accommodate paedophiles. It was only after a fatal fire bomb attack, which killed three of the occupants, that it was established that it had, in fact, been occupied by released rapists. “I can honestly say that I have only ever committed rape to satisfy my entirely normal heterosexual perversions,” fifty six year old Gerald Scudd, who survived the blaze, later told the press. “Mind you, I can quite understand why people got upset – if I found that one of those filthy child molesting vermin were living next door to me, I’d probably want to garrotte them. Sexual offences against children are quite deplorable and I’ve always tried to make sure that my victims are above the age of consent. However, if I have ever inadvertently raped anyone under sixteen, I apologise unreservedly.”

Incredibly, the antics of Titt’s gang have even drawn praise from some national politicians, keen to make capital out of popular sentiment. “This is clear evidence that the good old British community spirit is still alive and well,” declared Conservative leader David Cameron during an opportunistic visit to the Blotcher estate. “This is what we in the Conservative Party want to see – people empowering themselves to resolve local issues. The more local people take things into their own hands, the more resources the police can devote to investigating real crimes – like who assassinated Princess Diana.” Cameron brushed aside the fact that Titt’s band of vigilantes had, in fact, targeted the wrong victims. “That simply highlights the need to give groups like this proper support,” he claimed. “If they had only been allowed access to police intelligence on the issue, then the inconvenience caused to the occupants of that house could have been avoided!” Indeed, the Conservative leader is now calling upon the government to provide police liaison officers to work with local vigilante groups, and is proposing that, in future, such groups should be officially recognised. “Obviously, we don’t want just anyone taking the law into their own hands,” he mused. “Clearly, we need to institute a system of regulation, whereby potential vigilantes can be vetted and properly licenced. Obviously, we need to involve the middle classes more closely in vigilantism, so as to ensure that such groups are properly led and organised.” Not surprisingly, such proposals have been met with hostility from the police. “These notions are, quite frankly, crackpot,” responded Assistant Chief Constable Ron Squitter, Chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers. “I can assure Mr Cameron that our rank and file police officers are more than capable of beating up and arresting the wrong suspects without the help of amateurs!”