A 54-YEAR-OLD Whitby man has been arrested as part of a nationwide clampdown on internet paedophiles.
A Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre operation resulted in 76 suspected child sexual offenders being arrested last week.
The Whitby man, who can not be named, was arrested and later released on police bail pending further enquiries after a warrant was executed at his home address.
Computer-related items were seized as part of the ongoing investigation and Det Chief Insp Nigel Costello, head of North Yorkshire Police’s Protecting Vulnerable Persons Unit, said: “North Yorkshire Police wholeheartedly supports the work of CEOP and has played an active part in the operation.
“We have executed four warrants in the county this week, which has led to the seizure of computer equipment, associated material and the arrest of four men, one of whom has been charged to court.
“This high-profile national operation shines a light on the daily work of our intelligence teams who support detectives and uniformed officers to bring offenders involved in the possession and distribution of indecent images of children to justice.
“I can assure our communities that we are working tirelessly on such investigations 24 hours a day, 365 days each year.
“We are also involved with CEOP and other partner agencies to help raise awareness about this issue and to promote online safety.”
The CEOP coordinated Operation Tharsley combined over 40 police forces for two days of action on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 June.
Suspects were identified as a result of intelligence received directly from CEOP as well as from investigations conducted locally.
The majority of the warrants conducted related to image offences, including the possession and distribution of indecent images of children.
Additionally, arrests were also made where known offenders had breached the conditions of the Sex Offender’s Register.
Andy Baker, deputy chief executive of CEOP, said: “It is clear that those who possess indecent images also pose a significant risk to children and understanding and managing that risk is not an easy undertaking.
“If offenders think that collecting child abuse images is something they can get away with, they need to think again.
“These arrests show once again how law enforcement is becoming increasingly coordinated, sophisticated and innovative in targeting those who commit these crimes.”
The conclusion of Operation Tharsley coincides with the launch of a report from the CEOP called ‘A Picture of Abuse’.
The report underlines the significant risk of contact offending posed by those who possess indecent images of children.
It makes key recommendations about how police forces, others involved in child protection and the criminal justice process, can manage that risk to safeguard and protect more children.