There have been multiple calls across Facebook and Twitter for a ‘brave, courageous and clear-thinking’ young mum of three from Southend after she single-handedly destroyed and dismantled a suspected paedophile ring that has been operating in Southend High Street for a number of years. Shortly after 3pm today, Shantelle Hyperbole, 24, kicked down the door of the Safety In Southend Southend Community CCTV Monitoring Partnership office located on Rylan Terrace and knocked the on-duty agent unconscious, before proceeding to destroy £400,000 worth of equipment and removing hard drives that have been used to store and record footage of young children all over Southend Town Centre, some of them as young as newborn babies. According to a police officer who attended the scene after Ms Hyperbole called to report the incident, the footage included countless children who could be easily identified by anyone who recognises them, and some clips taken of the seafront fountains even included children in just a pair of swimming trunks.
Ms Hyperbole spoke to our Chief Reporter by telephone this evening, and after we congratulated her efforts she said: ‘I was walking past McDonalds with my three little ones today, when all of a sudden I noticed a number of CCTV cameras that seem to cover every single public area. As I continued towards the seafront, I noticed more and more of these cameras all over the place, and all of a sudden I had a terrifying thought – I realised that our children are being recorded at the same time as adults and this is a disgrace. I called 999 and told them about this danger, but they didn’t really take me seriously, and so I decided that I would need to take matters into my own hands. I burst into their office, and I was shocked to see lots and lots of screens that give the viewer full and crystal-clear visibility of loads of people in the town centre, and I was both literally and figuratively shaking with rage by this point. I smashed the on-duty guy’s head with a stapler and then destroyed as much equipment as possible, and I put all of the hard drives in a box and waited for the police to arrive. I know that I might get done for knocking that pervert unconscious, but my mate told me that he is responding well to his induced coma in hospital, and I did what I had to do so that all of our kids can be kept safe.’
We asked Ms Hyperbole if she plans to celebrate if she gets an award from the mayor of Southend, and she said: ‘I am not expecting an award as I was only doing what any other sensible parent would do! However, if I do get to meet the mayor, I will take my kids with me as they are really proud of their mummy today. I will get Bobby, Tammy and Primula in the photo with me and share it with everyone I know on Facebook to show the whole world that their mum isn’t to be messed with. I might put it on Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Bebo, Myspace and maybe a giant billboard on the A127 as well – I will just see how things go.’
PC Reginald Peacie of the Southend Centre Crime Divisional District said in a statement: ‘We applaud the efforts of Ms Hyperbole today, and we have no idea how this paedophile ring has been able to operate undetected for so long. Naturally the footage gathered by these cameras has come in very useful in the past for solving assaults, muggings, arson attacks, thefts, ramraids, vandalism, public disorder, joyrides and shootings involving adult members of the public, but with so many kids walking past these cameras every day it was clear that something had to be done. Thanks to her heroic actions, the CCTV scheme has been discontinued until further notice, and I am pleased to announce that the local government will be investing £800m in a state-of-the-art child-blurring CCTV system that is being developed by the University of Arizona. I have seen this being tested already, and it automatically detects the face of anyone under the age of 18 before blurring it out. As long as all future crime in Southend Town Centre is carried out exclusively by adults, this will be money well spent.’