Nine suspected paedophiles snared across Derbyshire

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Nine arrests have been made across Derbyshire as part of a UK-wide operation targeting suspected paedophiles.

The individuals were snared during a six-month crackdown on those accessing indecent images of children online.

Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Meadows, who leads Derbyshire police’s child sexual exploitation unit, said: “We recognise that for every image that is sold, shared or distributed on the internet, a youngster somewhere in the world has been subjected to abuse.

“People with such images on their computers commonly perceive it as a secret crime for which they will not be caught and they seem to ignore the sickening offending that has to take place to support their perverted and criminal interest.

“Such people need to be aware that we use a variety of overt and covert investigative methods to identify who these people are – and we will prosecute any we discover.”

Across the UK, Operation Notarise – which was coordinated by the National Crime Agency (NCA) – has resulted in 660 people being arrested for offences ranging from possession of indecent images of children online to serious sexual assault.

NCA deputy director general Phil Gormley said: “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.

“We want those offenders to know that the internet is not a safe, anonymous space for accessing indecent images, that they leave a digital footprint and that law enforcement will find it”.

Over the last year, Derbyshire Constabulary has prosecuted 68 individuals for indecent images offences and more than 40 investigations are still ongoing.

Anyone with information about suspected child sexual abuse should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.