TWO people from Burnley were arrested as part of a national crackdown on online sex abuse involving children.
On June 12th and 13th Lancashire Constabulary joined other police forces to work with Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) to tackle the problem of criminals making, possessing or distributing indecent images of children.
A 46-year-old man from Burnley was arrested on suspicion of possessing and distributing indecent images of children and has been released on bail pending further inquiries, and a 30-year-old woman from Burnley was arrested on suspicion of distributing indecent images. She has also been released on bail pending further inquiries.
During the two days of action officers executed warrants at suspects’ addresses and seized computers and other potential evidence.
Nine people were arrested in total, including suspects from Blackpool, Surrey, Thornton, Cumbria, and Barnoldswick.
Detective Superintendent Ian Critchley, head of public protection, said: “Each indecent image of a young person on a computer identifies at least one child that has been abused. It doesn’t matter where this is in the world, it is our duty to ensure we work with other authorities, particularly CEOP and often with law enforcement agencies from abroad, to protect all vulnerable children.
“As a result of our proactive work, together with that of CEOP in identifying users of websites that carry such abhorrent images, we arrested over 180 individuals last year in Lancashire for possession of indecent images.
“Further examination of computers often highlights that offenders have gone on to distribute indecent images to others, spreading the abuse.
“These most recent raids show our ongoing commitment to tackling this issue and we will continue to take such action in the future in order to keep youngsters safe from harm.
“We are worryingly seeing an increase in offenders who are attempting to groom young people through the internet, in order to sexually exploit them.
“The internet is a daily part of most young people’s lives and it is really important that they are aware of the dangers they face online and know that there is help available to them if they find themselves in a situation that they are uncomfortable with.”