A child groomer who sparked a brawl at Bluewater after he was confronted by ‘paedophile hunters’ has been jailed.

Mirza Beg, 29, waited outside Marks and Spencer’s with a packet of condoms as he waited to meet who he thought was a 14-year-old girl.

He had instead walked into a trap lead by ‘The Hunted One’, a group of self-described paedophile hunters who live-treamed the sting on Facebook and gained around 247,000 views.

Beg had sent the “girl” Whatsapp messages in the run-up to the meeting promising to “teach” her about sex.

The ambush on Beg escalated and several people could be seen punching and kicking him as security guards tried to break up the brawl.

Prosecutor Tom Dunn said Beg used a WAP log messenger to make contact with the girl he thought was called Scarlett, and claimed to be 22.

Mr Dunn said: “He sent her pictures of him working in a Shisha bar. He told her that he loved her and he suggested that they meet at the Bluewater Marks and Spencer."

As he travelled to the shopping centre, Beg gave a "running commentary" of his bus journey to the "girl" via WhatsApp.

Mr Dunn said: "He arrived at the bus stop of Marks and Spencer at Bluewater where he was confronted by Andy Bradstock and other members of this group.

"The encounter was filmed and it appears streamed through Facebook.

"Unfortunately it appears that a separate group had also attended and there was a violent exchange between at least two of that group and this defendant.

"It's clear that Mr Bradstock and those with him and those at Bluewater were trying to stop the violence on Mr Beg."

Beg, of no fixed address, was sentenced to 40 months today, July 14, at Maidstone Magistrates' Court.

Sentencing him, Judge David Griffith Jones, said Beg clearly had a sexual interest in children.

The clash involving Beg and other recent stings led Kent Police to voice concern about self-styled "paedophile hunters" amid fears they could interfere in their work and potentially entrap innocent people.

The force said it had "significant concerns about people taking the law into their own hands" and the methods used following stings by vigilante groups.

And officers publicly urged anyone with evidence of online grooming or who knows a suspect is planning to meet a potential victim to contact them instead.

In the wake of the criticism, The Hunted One posted a statement saying it would no longer broadcast ambushes of suspects live online.