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International Net paedophile ring smashed by UK police

130 arrested, ten in the UK

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Ten people were arrested in the UK today after police launched a series of dawn raids to smash an international child porn ring.

A further 120 people were arrested as 19 countries including Australia, France and the US took part in the raids, codenamed Operation Landmark.

Officers from Britain's National Criminal Squad (NCS) have been taking part in the investigation for the last ten months after staking out 33 paedophile newsgroups.

Some 10,000 people accessed the sites looking for paedophile material over a two-week period. Police traced 440 individuals and prepared evidence on 130 of them. Others slipped through the Net by using spoofed email addresses.

The man leading the National Crime Squad investigation, Detective Superintendent Peter Spindler, said the case differed from the investigation into the Wonderland Club in that all the newsgroups in this latest operation were publicly accessible.

Since the Wonderland Club investigation, the penalties for possession and distribution of illegal pornography have risen from six months and three years respectively to five years and ten years.

In a separate case, a teacher at a top Northern Ireland grammar school was today suspended after police charged him with "offences relating to Internet paedophile pornography". ®

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