Harrogate arrests after child abuse investigation

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Arrests have been made in Harrogate as police target suspected sex offenders in a child exploitation investigation.

Operation Tharsley, in two days of action nationwide, has seen 141 searches and 76 arrests and, so far, 80 children protected from abuse.

Among those under arrest is a 57-year-old man from Harrogate who has since been bailed by police as their enquiries continue.

His computers and equipment have been seized for analysis following raids in Harrogate on Tuesday and Wednesday last week.

“If offenders think that collecting child abuse images is something they can get away with, they need to think again,” said Andy Baker, of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).

“These arrests show once again how law enforcement is becoming increasingly coordinated, sophisticated and innovative in targeting those who commit these crimes.”

The CEOP worked closely with more than 40 forces across the country, including North Yorkshire Police and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

Countywide, four arrests were made including one in Scarborough and one in Whitby.

In Stokesley, a 52-year-old man was arrested and later released on conditional bail after his home was searched in a raid.

Computers and materials found here were also conviscated as part of the investigation.

“It is clear that those who possess indecent images also pose a significant risk to children,” said Mr Baker, who is deputy chif executive of CEOP.

“We are making the UK a more hostile place for those who are seeking to exploit our children.”

Suspects were idenitfied as a result of intelligence from investigations locally and from CEOP, said police.

Most warrants related to child pornography, but arrests were also made where known offendors had breached conditions of the Sex Offender’s Register.