Men arrested in swoop on internet paedophile suspects

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TWO men have been arrested as part of a national operation targeting suspected internet paedophiles.

Police arrested a 32-year-old man in Washington and a 55-year-old man in Peterlee, both on suspicion of possession of indecent images of children.

During the 48-hour operation, a number of computers and mobile phones were seized and an eight-year-old child was taken into protection.

Northumbria Police made four arrests across its force area, and there were two in Durham.

All of the men have been bailed pending further police inquiries.

Detective Superintendent Steve Wade, of Northumbria Police’s Protecting Vulnerable People department, said: “Safeguarding children is a major element in helping us reduce harm to the most vulnerable of our communities.

“Although this action is part of a national operation the public can be reassured that there is constant ongoing partnership work between ourselves and other agencies.

“The activity shows the effective arrangements in place to identify and take action against those we suspect are using the internet for illegal activity and the abuse of children.

“Northumbria Police has trained staff dedicated to protecting those that are most at risk and identifying and targeting the individuals or groups that prey on the vulnerable.”

DCI Traci McNally, of Durham police’s safeguarding branch, added: “This operation forms part of our everyday efforts to safeguard children from the risks posed by sex offenders who share indecent images of young people over the internet.

“In every case where indecent images of children are distributed, a child has been the subject to some form of abuse in order for that to happen and the damage and devastation that this cause to a child’s life is beyond comprehension.

“We are committed to safeguarding children from abuse and will root out sex offenders who utilise the internet to facilitate their crimes.”

The action formed part of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre’s Operation Tharsley.

It saw 40 police forces across the country teamed up with officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency for two days of action.

A total of 100 arrests have been made to date, with 80 children being safeguarded.

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