Brighton child rape gang arrested

Posted On 17 Mar 2011 at 10:29 am

Sixty children have been taken to a place of safety after a paedophile ring that hosted rape sessions in Brighton was closed down by police.

The sessions – known to the gang as “boil of the day” – were ended by Operation Rescue, with the arrest of nearly 200 suspected paedophiles.

The suspects, aged 17 to 82, used premises in Brighton and London and were being held after a series of police raids across Britain and abroad.

Those arrested here include a police officer, a police civilian worker, a soldier, youth workers, scoutmasters and a woman who works for a major electrical firm in Scotland.

Spacewords Brighton

Police said that she had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

The 60 British children taken to safety are among 230 rescued around the world.

The three-year investigation has been led by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).

Europol, American officials and police from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands became involved.

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Extensive

Details of the extensive operation were given at a press conference in The Hague in the Netherlands.

This was where the gang’s website server was based.

The website – called boylover.net – had more than 70,000 members. It was closed down in November 2009.

Locally, the Sussex Police Paedophile On Line Investigation Team (POLIT) has been carrying out investigations into six individuals based on intelligence from Operation Rescue.

One of those has already resulted in an offender being convicted and sentenced.

Ian Riley, 25, a primary school teaching assistant from Haywards Heath, was jailed for three and a half years at Hove Crown Court in July last year.

He filmed children as young as five as they changed for sports lessons.

He admitted 34 child porn offences.

In the other five investigations suspects have been arrested and are on police bail while inquiries continue.

Amazed

Officers from CEOP made a breakthrough when they gained access to the account of the only British administrator, who was based in Durham.

They found members’ personal details, including their date of birth, occupation and country of residence.

Kelvin Lay, a senior investigating officer, said: “We were amazed that they had registered their true occupations.”

He worked with colleagues to identify which members had a job or hobby that put them in contact with children as a priority.

He said: “We painstakingly went through every post and message to identify whether they were physically abusing children or had access to children.”

This process led to 121 arrests.

Peter Davies, the chief executive of CEOP, said: “The scale and success of Operation Rescue has broken new ground.

Impact

“Not only is it one of the largest operations of its kind to date – and the biggest operation we have led – it also demonstrates the impact of international law enforcement agencies working together with one single objective: to safeguard children and bring offenders to justice.

“What we show today is that while these offenders felt anonymous in some way because they were using the internet to communicate, the technology was actually being used against them.

“Everything they did online, everyone they talked to or anything they shared could, and was, tracked by following the digital footprint.”

Davies said that the 230 children identified had been at significant risk from named offenders but it was impossible to count how many had been rescued from future abuse “over the lifetime of these offenders”.

He added: “There are occasions when the threat is so close that the only option is to take these children into care, but the risk can come from babysitters or neighbours.

“Most of them are individuals but there may be clusters.”

The trigger for the press conference was the jailing yesterday of the boylover website’s Dutch founder.

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