So this is what they're up to when they're not digging: "Most women, says Marcus Crawford, cannot resist him. His charm and good looks make it easy for him to seduce any potential partner. As he explains his success with the opposite sex, he insists he is not being arrogant. Goodness no, he is merely suggesting why it is that he is good at his rather unusual job. He describes a typical encounter. Striding into a wine bar, dressed in a crisp shirt and designer jeans, he makes eye contact with an attractive, well-groomed woman, most recently one called Vanessa, who is sitting around a table with a group of girlfriends, drinking champagne. "Beautiful top," Marcus murmurs, as he walks past her, to the bar. How will she respond, he wonders. Will she take the bait, or not? But the outcome does not really matter to Marcus. He doesn't actually find Vanessa particularly attractive, nor is he looking for romance - or even sex. In fact, he is a male "honeytrap" - a professional seducer - paid by Vanessa's husband to test her fidelity. Female honeytraps, paid by jealous wives to see if their husbands are misbehaving, are nothing new. But now distrustful husbands are doing the same thing. Is a wife who likes partying with girlfriends or work colleagues out having innocent fun, they wonder. Or is there another man involved? Marcus, 28, is a qualified archaeologist who spends his days on digs, poring over ruins or antiquities. But at night he becomes a calculating tempter trying to establish whether women in relationships are willing to cheat. So, how does Marcus reconcile the seemingly glaring chasm between his two personas? "There are actually lots of similarities between honeytrapping and archaeology," says Marcus, who has a BA and an MA to his name and lives in the suburbs of Nottingham. "Both involve lots of keen detective work. It's just that when I'm working on an archaeological dig I'm piecing together a historical jigsaw dating back thousands of years rather than the sordid details of recent infidelity." But why on earth does an educated man agree to do this for a living? The answer, he explains with distasteful simplicity, is money: "When funding for an archaeology project in Japan fell through at the start of the year, I decided to take up an offer of working as a male honeytrap for a company called Executive Honeytraps run by a private detective. "It was an opportunity to earn extra money. A female friend is a marketing manager by day and a honeytrap for the same detective by night. I'd long been intrigued by her tales of being paid to see if husbands and boyfriends would succumb to her charms. I love women so I thought, why not? What man wouldn't like the idea of being paid to test a woman's resistance to his charms?" Indeed. But is honeytrapping not just a polite term for the legally (and morally) questionable business of entrapment - luring or tricking someone into making a compromising statement or action? Marcus argues self-righteously to the contrary: "I'm just paid to be flirtatious and friendly with the women I'm testing. "I don't force myself on them or make sexual advances, that's entirely up to them. I just do enough to let them know that I'm interested if that's what they want. Whether they then ask for my phone number, give me theirs, try to steal a kiss or invite me on a date or back to their home or hotel for sex is their choice." He boasts that he has never been short of offers from the women he is paid to honeytrap, though he insists that the line is drawn firmly at sharing a kiss with a target - something which must be of her instigation. He adds: "It's a job, I'm simply acting. I assume a false name and even a fake life when I'm working as a honeytrap. I'm not there as Marcus. And no matter how attractive a target is, there's no way I'd sleep with her if she asked. This is business, nothing more. "Take Martin, a guy in his early 40s who recently hired me to honeytrap his wife Gina on a night out with her friends in Birmingham. He was a middle manager for a luxury car manufacturer and although he and Gina had been getting divorced, she'd decided she wanted them to give the marriage one more go. "But Martin was suspicious, not least as he'd just inherited £30,000 from his grandfather. Was she just after a share of the money? Martin was living with their two children at his parents' house, she was living in a rented flat and the detached, four-bedroom marital home was sold subject to contract with all the furniture in storage." Marcus, a friend and the private detective waited in a car opposite Gina's flat then followed her as she and her friends got a taxi into Birmingham city centre. The detective dropped them outside the bar Gina and her friends had entered and, Marcus claims, it turned out to be his easiest honeytrap job to date. "We didn't even get a chance to turn our charms on them, Gina and her mates made a beeline for us as soon as we'd ordered our drinks. At the end of the night, far from just asking for my phone number she invited me to go home with her." With a camera hidden in his buttonhole to record everything that happened for Gina's husband, Marcus accepted - knowing full well that when he arrived at her home he would make his excuses and leave. "I was expecting to be taken back to Gina's rented flat. Instead she took me to the old marital home, which was completely empty of any furniture or belongings except for the loft conversion which had been secretly decked out like a boudoir. Gina admitted she'd been having a lot of fun in there with one-night stands while it was awaiting sale. "Of course, unbeknown to her she'd just blown her own cover because I was recording the whole sorry scene." Though Marcus clearly has no qualms about his double life, even insisting he is something of a relationship saviour in such instances, his family are far less enthusiastic. The eldest son of a former nurse and a businessman, Marcus and his brother were raised in Manchester by their mother after she and his father divorced when he was a young child. "She thinks being a honeytrap is dreadful. My brother laughed and made some comment about me getting a proper job. But I have friends who think that the work I do is pretty cool." "Cool" is hardly the word that most people would use. And however slick the company Marcus works for may appear (it has its own glossy website) his confessions convey an uncomfortable mixture of bragging conceit and utter cynicism. What, pray, do the ladies in his personal life feel about his dubious job? "I've had quite a lot of girlfriends," he muses. "But I don't lie to women about the sort of person I am. I'm clear that I'm not looking for an exclusive relationship." So what became of Vanessa, Marcus's glossy target in the wine bar - did she, too, fall for his charms? "This was an intriguing job," Marcus admits. "She was 42 and had been married for six years to Miles, a 67-year-old multi-millionaire land owner with countless properties to his name both here and in Dubai. "He had an obsession with spying on his wife. They'd been together 12 years after she started an affair with Miles while she was married to her first husband. But since the start of this year he's had four different detectives put Vanessa under surveillance, each of them catching her out with a different man." Then Miles allegedly bought his wife a top-of-the range mobile phone ("The kind that my detective boss uses for spying on clients," says Marcus). "Unbeknown to Vanessa, every time she sends or receives a text or makes a call, the information is copied straight to her husband's own mobile phone," he explains. "He wanted to try a honeytrap as a different tack. His whole life really is about monitoring his wife. "The irony is that although Vanessa was certainly flattered by my initial attention, by the time I'd been served at the bar that night, she had broken away from her group of friends and was ensconced in a corner of the wine bar with another man. "So, that particular honeytrap didn't get any further but my friend and I hung around in the bar anyway, my hidden camera filming her sharing stolen kisses with her companion. "Astonishingly, when the detective and I presented the evidence to Miles he was devastated, despite already knowing that she'd cheated on him countless times. He told me he wanted her to go to a sex therapist." Does Marcus, an articulate and seemingly intelligent man, ever feel guilty when he breaks such news? He concludes: "Surely it's far better for a man to know that his wife is capable of cheating than to spend another ten years in the relationship with niggling doubts and no proof? "Yet part of me wishes that these men could just talk to their wives about their doubts instead of going to such extreme lengths." Indeed. But with communication becoming a dying art in modern marriages, honeytrapping, questionable though it is, looks set to increase in popularity as a means of rooting out cheating partners. Whose morals are more corrupt - those of the adulterers, the honeytraps, or the men who hire them - is debatable. "