A PAIR of would-be paedophile hunters beat up a man they believed had been talking to a 14-year-old “girl” online.

Ryan Newcombe-Burgess, 20, and Myles Fisher, 19, had set up the internet decoy account after watching videos social media of vigilante groups.

They arranged to meet the 33-year-old victim in Guildford Avenue, Lawn, on May 22, 2019, enticing him with the promise of a date with the “girl”. He received a message from her telling him to go to a house, but when he knocked at the door it was answered by a middle-aged man.

Newcombe-Burgess and Fisher, who was still 17-years-old at the time, turned up in two BMWs and approached the man.

One of the two told the victim they only wanted to chat to him. “We aren’t going to do anything to you,” he added, asking to see the man’s phone.

CCTV showed them frogmarching him, punching him several times and striking him once with the knee. The victim’s cries for help were heard by several neighbours. An off-duty police sergeant who heard the screams said: “It was like a fox in distress.”

Prosecutor John Dyer told Swindon Crown Court the victim suffered an 8cm cut to his head, which was stapled, chipped teeth, a broken nose and other bruises, grazes and cuts.

The men were identified from their car registrations. When he was arrested in September 2019, Fisher told police: “He’s a f***ing n***e anyway. He likes to f*** kids.”

The victim of the assault had not been charged with any offence, Mr Dyer said.

Sentencing the men, Judge Jason Taylor QC said: “This was a classic case of the male teenage brain not engaging and you then egging each other on.”

He added: “It is not for you to exact vigilante justice if that was what this was, which this court is not in a position to say.

“Any suspicions you had should have been shared with the police. They are the ones who are both tasked and trained to deal with these situations.”

Emma Handslip, mitigating, said both her clients had been immature. They were genuinely remorseful and had taken advantage of the delay in the case reaching court.

Fisher, of Ogbourne St George, and Newcombe-Burgess, of Wigmore Avenue, Lawn, admitted causing grievous bodily harm.

Judge Taylor sentenced Newcombe-Burgess to 10 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years. The co-defendant received eight months suspended for two years.

Both were ordered to do 175 hours of unpaid work, 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days, a four month curfew and pay £500 in costs and fines.