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By | Christopher Williams 21st February 2007 23:09

Police bust 300-strong 'paedophile ring'

Members based in UK, Australia, Canada and US

A worldwide undercover police operation infiltrated and shut down an online network of 300 paedophiles, police said on Wednesday.

The swoop involved police in the UK, Australia, US and Canada, and was coordinated by the the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) in London. An undisclosed number of children were rescued from alleged sexual abuse.

CEOP chief exec Jim Gamble said: "We identified an online area used by individuals with a deviant interest in children - in my mind that's a paedophile ring."

"We had undercover officers from Canada, America, Australia and the UK involved simultaneously. Through an eight-hour shift pattern there was a continuous covert investigation trying to infiltrate the group."

The leaders of the network were in the UK, he said. As well as the arrests already made, information collected by investigators will continue to be shared internationally. ®

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