‘Paedo trap’ crisis (28.12.03)

News of the World, 28th December 2003

CYBER-COPS hunting sex perverts who surf the internet for kiddie porn face being closed down because of a cash crisis.Officers from the National Crime Squad have created fake websites to trap paedophiles looking for vile child abuse pictures.

But the scheme could collapse if the government does not come up with the £10 million needed to fund it for the next three years.

Launched a week ago as part of Operation Pin, the NCS’s ground-breaking Virtual

Global Task Force targets online perverts using the bogus websites.

Instead of fuelling their sick fantasies, the perverts’ details are logged, so they can be traced. The initiative is being supported by the FBI, Australian Federal Police, Canadian Police and Interpol.

But a National Crime Squad source revealed last night: “This scheme was set up without any additional funding.

“We need around £10 million to keep it running for three years. If we don’t get it we’re in serious trouble.

“At the moment this scheme is operating on goodwill -everybody is working above and beyond what is required because we are committed to rescuing children.

“But we are pulled in so many directions it is incredibly difficult to juggle without more cash from the Government.”

Police gathered details of 7,200 internet perverts during Operation Ore, but cops hope this new scheme will flush out repeat offenders and those who have not been identified.

Assistant Chief Constable Jim Gamble from the National Crime Squad, who headed up Operation Ore in the UK, said: “We’ve created cyber cops who walk the beat online, tracking down everyone looking at child porn.

“There’s no excuse for anyone entering these sites. It creates demand for the material -and every image means a child is being abused.”

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