Worthing man Ian Green has been jailed for leading an international paedophile ring on social networking site Facebook.
Green, who co-ordinated an international network of paedophiles by using Facebook to share up to 100,000 indecent images of children, was jailed today (Thursday, August 26) for four years.
Green, 45, a registered sex offender who lived in rented accommodation in Littlehampton Road, Worthing, pleaded guilty at Chichester Crown Court to possession (one count), making (six counts), distributing (seven counts) and view to distributing (10 counts) child abuse images.
He also pleaded guilty to breaching his requirements on the Sex Offenders Register.
The paedophile network was smashed in an international operation led in the UK by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre and Sussex Police, in partnership with police in Australia, Canada and the USA.
CEOP investigators infiltrated the network and discovered that unemployed Green was enabling carefully selected contacts to access up to three private Facebook groups.
At the point at which contacts were able to demonstrate their trustworthiness to Green - usually through adding their own child abuse images - he would facilitate access to the next group.
Each group contained more extreme images and films of child sexual abuse. Green used a multitude of false Facebook profiles, group accounts and email addresses to download and distribute vile images which were shared on his homepage ('wall') and in his mailbox.
Green was arrested by officers from Sussex Police's Paedophile On Line Investigation Team (POLIT) who then launched an investigation to gather evidence of his offences.
DC Martin Harmer, who led the investigation, said: "As a result of information given to us by CEOP, Green was arrested by Sussex officers and we then set about gathering evidence in relation to his crimes.
"This was a particularly disturbing case – Green cleverly set up private Facebook accounts containing images of child abuse and then gave access to other paedophiles.
"Every child depicted in images such as these is a victim. We'll continue to work tirelessly with other organisations such as CEOP to ensure that we identify those who perpetuate these vile crimes, and ensure they get the justice they deserve."
Detective Inspector Ali Eaton, who heads the POLIT, added: "With the nature of this type of investigation there are suspects from across the world, as this case demonstrates. I hope this sentence sends a robust message out that possessing, making and distributing child abuse images on line will not be tolerated.
"We must never forget the child victims that are abused for the gratification of these paedophiles through the viewing and sharing of the indecent images. Green's sentence is a reminder to us all why our work and liaison is so important."
Jim Gamble, Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, said: "This network was made up of people who share an interest in viewing extremely disturbing images of children suffering horrific abuse.
"All the officers working on this investigation – both in the UK and in Australia, America, Canada and elsewhere – shared a unwavering determination to safeguard children affected by this network and to bring those involved to justice.
"Offenders are not limited by their geography and neither are we. Operation Ocean should send a clear message to others who think that online environments offer them anonymity in their offending. Everything you do leaves a digital footprint."
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