clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

British arrest 22 in kid-porn raids

LONDON — British police said Tuesday they had arrested at least 22 people — including a 13-year-old boy — in a nationwide crackdown on Internet child pornography.

Operation leader Terry Jones of the Greater Manchester Police, northwest England, said police from 25 forces all over England, Scotland and Wales simultaneously raided 43 homes at dawn, seizing more than 40 computers.

"The operation follows a four-month investigation into pedophile Internet activity focusing on people who possess and distribute indecent images of children," Inspector Jones said.

Jones said that because of the widespread operation, it was too early to say exactly how many people had been arrested or would eventually be charged.

Reports on 28 of the 43 raids indicated at least 22 people were being held and that number was expected to rise sharply, he said. Many of those being held were not previously known to police.

Jones said the raids had already produced some very disturbing results — including the involvement of children and teenagers in the spread of child pornography via e-mail.

"One case involved a 13-year-old boy, which is clearly disturbing for many reasons, not least that he could be a victim himself," Jones said.

Police would examine the contents of the computers over the next few months and it was highly likely further arrests would be made, he said.

The operation is the latest in a series of crackdowns on Internet pedophiles and one of the largest in Britain to date, Jones said.

Last month seven British men were jailed for a combined total of 13 1/2 years after being caught in the largest-ever international police operation against Internet child pornography.

The operation led to the arrest of 107 men in 12 countries suspected of being involved in the child pornography ring known as the Wonderland Club.

Monday U.S. and Russian police arrested nine people in an international child pornography video ring that operated from a Russian Web site called "Blue Orchid."

Investigations were also under way in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.

Last week Britain's Internet Crime Forum said children were increasingly at risk of being befriended and abused by pedophiles using Internet chat rooms to lure their prey.