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First successful conviction for specialist police unit

A specialist unit of Dorset Police detectives have successfully convicted a paedophile following an investigation in conjunction with US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in London, the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).

A 29-year-old man from Verwood was sentenced to a total of five years imprisonment on Wednesday 29 January 2014 at Bournemouth Crown Court.

He pleaded guilty at the same court on 19 December 2013 to:

  • Eight counts of making indecent photographs of a child
  • Five counts of distributing indecent photographs of a child
  • Sexual activity with a child
  • Arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence

He also pleaded guilty today to another offence of possessing an extreme pornographic image.

The Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) is a new team formed within the Child Abuse Investigation Team (CAIT) who work closely with partner agencies and other police forces to identify and prosecute offenders and protect vulnerable children from sexual exploitation.

This follows the success of similar investigative teams across the country.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Naughton of the Public Protection Unit said: “POLIT are committed to targeting and bringing to justice those in Dorset who are sexually exploiting children over the internet.

“The message is simple and very clear; if you commit these crimes we will hunt you down, arrest you and bring you to justice.”

Matthew J. Etre, attaché for HSI in London, said: “Protecting children from exploitation is one of the most important missions we have and, as this case demonstrates, it takes the collaboration of law enforcement agencies around the world to tackle this crime. HSI is committed to working with partners such as Dorset Police, the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) to arrest individuals who commit such heinous acts and ensure that they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Dorset Police is also urging parents to be aware and alert to the signs of online grooming and abuse.

Parents are encouraged to visit the CEOP website for up-to-date advice on how to keep their children safe online.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Naughton continued: “I also urge those abusing children to seek professional help from either their GP or another professional organisation such as Stop it Now! of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation.

“Targeting criminals in cyber space and safeguarding children from serious harm remains a priority for Dorset Police in 2014 and beyond.”

The Paedophile Online Investigation Team can be contacted on 101. In an emergency always dial 999.

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Issued: 29 January 2014