Intimate images of up to 65 Sunderland women shared online
Up to 65 women from across Sunderland have been targeted in a suspected hack which has seen explicit images of them shared online.
Northumbria Police are hunting a suspected hacker who has gathered together a file of hundreds of intimate pictures women from Wearside.
The mystery tormentor has posted a file of pictures of young women - ranging from topless holiday snaps to explicit sexual photographs - online on a number of occasions.
It is being treated as a case of "revenge porn" on a large scale - but as yet it is not believed the women from Sunderland, are linked by a single man or group of men.
The women in the pictures, who are named in alphabetical order in the humiliating collection, are panic-stricken at the thought of the pictures being seen by more and more people as they continue to be posted and shared.
Police and the victims are mystified as to how the hacker has managed to get access to the private pictures and the case has raised the fear that their iCloud security may have been breached.
Many of the pictures show women engaged in sexual acts with men or by themselves.
Northumbria Police have confirmed the matter has been reported to them by a small number of the victims and they have issued an appeal for more victims to come forward in confidence.
Detectives in the force's cyber crime unit are encouraging as many as possible to contact them using the 101 service so that they can try to establish any links between the women.
Mother-of-two Danielle, 32, who works in the restaurant industry, was one of those who raised the alarm after she counted 65 women from Sunderland on the list.
She said: "Over last few weeks I was told by a friend there was a website which had a file full of girls on it.
"The were various pictures, some were of a sexual nature some taken from social media and others from modelling portfolios.
"The file has been sent around people using WhatsApp, in private messages and it was posted onto Twitter who took it down quickly once it was reported because of the sexual nature of the pictures.
"But the file still exists and it was been posted online to my knowledge at least three times.
"My pictures are topless holiday pictures but I didn't take those pictures or authorise anyone to take those pictures.
"I was on a boat with 15 other girls at the time.
"I have never ever seen the pictures before.
"None of us know how widely this has travelled around the world or how this file was put together.
"It could someone has hacked into iCloud or a group of people have shared pictures they have had.
"Literally everyone is humiliated and upset, I don't know all these girls so I put a post on Facebook to warn the girls of what was happening.
"I appreciate no one wants their name attached to this but I wanted them to all contact the police and also to report it to the website to get them taken down.
"It is not about sweeping it under the carpet and pretending it is not happening, everyone needs to take action.
"Laws have been introduced to stop this happening and when whoever is responsible is found they need to be properly dealt with.
"As far as I know all the girls are from Sunderland, but I don't know all of them, only a few, I've asked people to take screen shots and contact the police.
"The ages range from early 20s to mid thirties and there is nothing linking the girls from what I can establish.
"I heard about it when a friend of mine told me she had been sent a link and they had seen topless pictures of me, I couldn't believe it. I am a mother with two children and I run a business.
"I don't want that, it is humiliating, degrading and awful, it caused me shock and panic.
"Someone is out there attacking these girls, they are destroying people's lives, these are pictures taken in privacy and were never meant to be shared online."
A spokesman fro Northumbria Police said: “We are investigating a report of malicious communication involving explicit photographs circulating online.
“We take this type of offence very seriously and an investigation is ongoing.
“We would encourage anybody who is a victim of this type of crime to come forward and report it to police on 101.”