Children taken into care after South Yorkshire police ‘porn’ raids

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NINE men have been arrested and five children taken into care in a police crackdown on paedophiles downloading child porn from the internet.

The men, aged between 44 and 60, were arrested in South Yorkshire in a series of raids carried out as part of a nationwide operation co-ordinated by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

Code-named Operation Tharsley, the raids took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, and led to over 70 arrests.

The men arrested in South Yorkshire have all been bailed pending further enquiries.

Their computers have been seized by police.

Police said five children were removed from their homes in South Yorkshire and taken into ‘police protection’ because of the ‘poor conditions’ the youngsters were found living in.

The raids, involving over 40 police forces, were organised to coincide with the publication of a national report commissioned by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, underlining the risk posed by those who possess indecent images of children.

The report, A Picture of Abuse, says that although academic research is divided, there is a ‘clear link’ between those who view child porn and assault children.

Andy Baker, deputy chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, said: “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.

“Operation Tharsley highlights the excellent work carried out by UK police forces on a daily basis and I’ve seen first-hand the passion and dedication of officers investigating these cases.

He added: “Behind every case of possession of indecent images lies the potential that contact sexual offences are taking place.

“No stone should be left unturned in order to identify and protect those children.”