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UK Net paedo crackdown bags 600

Operation Ore progress report

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More than 600 UK sex offenders have been convicted as a result of an ongoing probe into Internet child porn.

UK police have - as part of Operation Ore - investigated 6,500 British people suspected of using a paedophile portal in the US. The operation has so far led to more than 1,200 prosecutions and 655 convictions, Home Office minister Baroness Scotland of Asthal said yesterday. The statistics came in a written response to a question table by a peer in the House of Lords.

Operation Ore began here 18 months ago after the FBI turned over the details of 7,200 British child porn suspects to UK police.

The list contains names, addresses and credit card details of UK subscribers to an American child porn aggregator. Members paid £21 a month to Landslide Productions of Texas, for access to 300 child porn sites.

Around 250,000 people worldwide had paid to access this material.

The list was compiled by the US Postal Service, which busted Landslide in 1999. The raid led to the conviction of Texas computer consultant Thomas Reedy, who ran the site, three years ago on child porn offences.

They've got a (not so) little list

Some of the UK residents on the list have died whilst others have fled the country. There were also duplicate names on the list, reducing the overall number to 6,500. Police are prioritising investigations into three categories.

The highest priority - featuring approximately 1,200 names - includes convicted paedophiles and those who work with children.

Suspects in positions of authority (such as police and magistrates) are next in order of priority. Individuals deemed to pose a lesser risk have been placed in a third category.

"Whilst the internet has increased the transmission and exchange of images of child abuse, it has also provided a valuable opportunity to identify, prosecute and treat a significant group of child abusers who might never otherwise come to our attention," Baroness Scotland said in her reply. ®

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