LAWFUEL – Five men who were part of global child sex offender network have been arrested by the Met’s Paedophile Unit and Child Abuse Investigation Teams.
The suspects were arrested for possession, manufacturing and distribution of indecent images of children.
As part of the Child Exploitation Online Protection (CEOP’s) Centre’s Operation Koala, 46 suspects were arrested in the UK in operations involving
22 police forces around the country with more arrests expected in the near future.
The Metropolitan Police arrested a 39-year-old man on 2.10.07 in Hackney for possession, manufacturing and distribution of indecent images of children and was bailed to return to an East London Police Station on 18.12.07.
A 61-year-old man was arrested on 14.09.07 in Bromley for possession, manufacturing and distribution of indecent images of children and was bailed to return to a South London Police Station on 09.11.07.
A 55 year old man was arrested on 25.07.07 in Brixton for possession, manufacturing and distribution of indecent images of children and was bailed to return to a South London Police Station on 18.01.08.
A 23 year old man was arrested in 23.10.07 in Hillingdon for possession, manufacturing and distribution of indecent images of children and was bailed to return to a West London police station on 23.01.08.
A 48 year old man was arrested on 25.09.07 in Orpington, Kent for possession, manufacturing and distribution of indecent images of children and was bailed to return to a South London police station on 20.11.07.
Property was also seized from an address in Greenwich which is currently under analysis.
The arrests were undertaken as part of the Met’s Operation Safetynet by the Met’s Paedophile Unit and also by the force’s Child Abuse Investigation Teams across London.
CEOP’s Operation Koala was initiated in 2006 and involved the sexual abuse of children from a modelling website based in Italy. ‘Customers’ from all over the world were able to order tailor-made videos depicting the abuse.
The investigation began when a child abuse video – made in Belgium – was discovered in Australia. A Belgian perpetrator and two victims were identified.
Consequently, the sole producer of the material, a 42 year old Italian national, was arrested. He was running a website on which he sold over 150 self-made, sexually explicit videos of young girls. The business had been running for eighteen months and generated considerable profits from around 2,500 customers worldwide.
The abusive material was mainly produced in the man’s private studio. Some material was filmed in Belgium and the Netherlands. One of the video’s sold by the Italian suspect shows a father sexually abusing his daughters of 9 and 11 years of age. ‘Customers’ of this website were able to order tailor made videos and some even travelled to the studio in order to watch and record the abuse, making their own private videos.
Shortly after the Italian child sex offender was arrested in Bologna, the Italian authorities forwarded all digitalised material, including ‘customer’
details to Europol and Eurojust. From here, the material was disseminated to the countries in which customers were identified.
In June 2007, the material was passed to CEOP which holds UK responsibility for receiving intelligence and information from overseas on child sexual abuse crimes.
CEOP’s Intelligence Faculty analysed and developed the material and passed details of individual suspects to their local police forces who in turn initiated their own investigations. Operational activity in relation to these investigations became part of the Met’s Operation Safety Net.
Detective Chief Inspector Nick Stevens said, “The Met Police’s Child Abuse Investigation Command have assisted in disrupt this global child abuse network by arresting five men.
“An essential part of the ongoing Paedophile Unit operations involve undercover operations on the internet and executing search warrants following information received of paedophiles being engaged in on-line paedophilia.
“The Paedophile Unit will continue to target paedophiles who commit hands on sexual abuse against children as well as those who commit the offences of downloading or distributing child abuse imagery. The offence of the latter captures an actual situation where a child has been abused and is viewed as a very serious crime against children by both the police and judiciary.”