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The Metropolitan police is to hand out mouse mats, pencils and temporary tattoos to children in a campaign to make them more aware of the dangers of Internet chatrooms.

The goodies accompany a software program, "Safer Surfing", which officers will use when they visit classrooms.

The software - aimed at ten and 11-year-olds - gives children tips on how to stay safe online and help them protect themselves from the potential dangers of "chatting" with strangers online.

The Met police's latest campaign comes a fortnight after the "most prolific Internet groomer ever caught" - was jailed for five years. Former postal worker Douglas Lindsell used the Net and chatrooms to prey on young girls by pretending to be a teenage boy.

Police said that Lindsell had "overtly sexual" contact with more than 70 girls from the UK and overseas.

Research shows that five million children aged nine to 16 regularly use chatrooms. ®

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