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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Four Cumbrians arrested in national suspected paedophiles inquiry

Four suspected paedophiles have been arrested in Cumbria as part of a nationwide crackdown on child abuse.

They were picked up as part of a six-month operation co-ordinated by the National Crime Agency (NCA) which has seen some 660 arrests across England, Scotland and Wales.

Of the total, 39 are currently on the Sex Offenders’ Register but most were previously unknown to the police, say NCA officials.

The operation targeted people looking at indecent images of children online.

The details of those arrested in Cumbria has not yet been released.

NCA said the operation has helped to safeguard more than 400 children across the UK.

Some suspects have had unsupervised access to children through their work, and they include doctors, teachers, scout leaders, care workers and former police officers.

Charging decisions are awaited in most cases because of ongoing enquiries but so far charges brought range from possessing indecent images of children to serious sexual assault.

NCA deputy director general Phil Gormley said: “This is the first time the UK has had the capability to co-ordinate a single targeted operation of this nature.

“Over the past six months we have seen unprecedented levels of co-operation to deliver this result.

“Our aim was to protect children who were victims of, or might be at risk of, sexual exploitation.

“A child is victimised not only when they are abused and an image is taken. They are re-victimised every time that image is viewed by someone.

“Some of the people who start by accessing indecent images online go on to abuse children directly.

“So the operation is not only about catching people who have already offended – it is about influencing potential offenders before they cross that line.”

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