SIX child porn suspects from East Lancashire have been quizzed as part of a joint operation between county police and the National Crime Agency.
Detectives in Lancashire have been probing a number of alleged offenders after being passed information regarding their online activities by the NCA.
And this has led to 16 men being arrested countywide, on suspicion of either possessing or distributing indecent images of children.
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It has emerged that a 61-year-old from Blackburn, a 29-year-old from Nelson, a 57-year-old from Whalley, a 45-year-old from Accrington, a 27-year-old from Burnley and a 29-year-old from Rossendale have been released on bail pending further enquiries.
Other suspects from Blackpool, the Fylde, West Lancashire and Preston have also been similarly bailed.
Det Ch Insp Claire McEnery, from Lancashire Police’s public protection unit, said: “Tackling child sexual exploitation is a priority and we are absolutely committed to preventing child sexual abuse, helping victims and bringing offenders to justice.
“While the force was recognised in a recent Home Affairs Select Committee Report as leading the way in innovative ways to tackle child sexual exploitation, we are not complacent and we will continue to work with our partners to protect children and target offenders.”
Five different men from Blackburn, Burnley, Oswaldtwistle and Rawtenstall were arrested and later charged with similar offences as part of a child exploitation exercise conducted by Lancashire Police last March.
Work on the latest crackdown has been ongoing for six months.
But it has only now been publicly acknowledged in order to secure the maximum number of arrests.
Across the UK police say 660 people have been arrested, 9,172 devices seized and 833 properties searched, alongside 431 children being ‘safeguarded’.