10 child sex offenders in the Sunderland area sentenced so far in 2018

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Today we look at some of the most worrying crimes in Sunderland.

From sexual assaults to online grooming, the number of people sentenced for child sex offences in the Sunderland area in 2018 is already into double figures.

Flick through the gallery of offenders here

The digital age presents an even bigger challenge when it comes to keeping young people safe.

All bar one of the cases featured in our list today involved technology, whether it was grooming online of via mobile phones, child porn found on laptops or, in one case, a video taken on a mobile phone of a sexual assault.

Half the cases saw perpetrators arrested after being caught by Guardians of the North, an online group dedicated to snaring paedophiles.

The group sets up fake profiles on social networking sites and dating apps, then sets up stings and hands suspects over to the authorities.

Offenders were caught when they turned up to meet the underage boys or girls they thought they were talking to online.

In one case, a man sent his home address for a boy to come to him. He had a visit from the police instead.

While such cases don’t involve “real” children, it does show that sex criminals are willing to contact, groom and arrange to meet young people in full knowledge that they are under 16.

Northumbria Police works with Get Safe Online, a free resource aimed at keeping people safe while using the internet.

Almost four in five 12 to 15 year olds and one in three 8 to 11 year olds own a mobile phone, and officers say its vital time is spent educating children to help keep them safe.

•Northumbria Police supplies the media with photographs of offenders based on criteria around offences, sentencing and other circumstances.