Hundreds of British paedophiles still at large as worldwide swoop on 341 suspected sex offenders fails to net any in UK despite police receiving tip-off list 18 months ago
- Three-year Project Spade operation spearheaded by Canadian authorities
- It netted 348 suspects around the world, but none were Brits
- Investigation began with a Toronto man accused of running a company since 2005 that distributed child pornography videos
Hundreds of suspected British paedophiles are still at large, nearly two years after they were named by Canadian detectives.
The list of suspects was put together in Toronto as part of a sweeping child pornography investigation named Project Spade.
The Brits were allegedly customers of a
Canadian firm that sold child pornography videos.
The investigation has led to the rescue of 386
young children around the world and the arrest of 348 people, but none of them have been Brits.
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Massive haul: Canadian police described the Project Spade operation as one of the largest child porn busts they've ever seen
The suspects are feared to include teachers, priests and foster carers.
Toronto detective Paul Krawczyk said his team passed 'hundreds of names' to the UK 18 months ago.
newly formed National Crime Agency admitted no arrests had been made
and told The Mirror: 'In 2012 CEOP received information from the Toronto
Police. It receives around 19,000 such referrals every year. The NCA is
using the information for intelligence purposes and continues to
develop it. There have been no arrests to date.'
Global collaboration: More than 30 police officers from around the world gathered to announce the end of a 3-year child pornography investigation in Toronto
All walks of life: Police said 108 people were arrested in Canada, 76 in the U.S and 164 in countries from Spain to South Africa and Australia, among them teachers, doctors and priests
Canadian police described the Project Spade operation as one of the largest child porn busts they've ever seen.
‘It is alleged that officers seized hundreds of thousands of videos detailing horrific sexual acts against very young children, some of the worst that they have ever viewed,’ Toronto Inspector Joanna Beaven-Desjardins said.
Police said 108 people were arrested in Canada, 76 in the U.S and 164 in countries from Spain to South Africa and Australia.
Forty school teachers, nine doctors and nurses, and more than 30 people who volunteered with kids were among those taken into custody.
The list of suspects also includes nine clergymen, six police officers and three foster parents.
Police said the children were ‘rescued from child exploitation’ but did not give more details.
said the investigation began with a Toronto man accused of running a
company since 2005 that distributed child pornography videos to the tune
of $4million in revenue, CTV News reported.
Police allege Brian Way, 42, instructed people around the world to create the videos of children ranging from 5 to 12 years of age, then distributed the videos via his company, Azov Films, to international customers.
The videos included naked boys from Germany, Romania and Ukraine, which it marketed as naturist movies and claimed were legal in Canada and the United States.
The head of the Toronto police sex crimes unit told the Toronto Star that the X-rated images displayed 'horrific acts of sexual abuse — some of the worst (officers) have seen.'
Police said they executed a search warrant at Way's company and home, seizing about 1,000 pieces of evidence: computers, servers, DVD burners, a video editing suite and hundreds of movies.
Way was charged with 24 offences, including child pornography. Police also designated Azov Films as a criminal organization, charging Way with giving directions on behalf of a gang.
The Azovfilms.com website has been shut down.
Beaven-Desjardins said this is the first time in Canada that anyone as been charged with being a part of a criminal organization in regards to child pornography.
Police said they began their investigation in 2010 and worked with Interpol in more than 50 countries including Australia, Spain, Mexico, Norway and Greece.
More than 350,000 images and over 9,000 videos - about 45 terabytes - of child sexual abuse were found during the probe, and arrests are continuing, Beaven-Desjardins said.
Online filth: Police allege Brian Way, 42, instructed people around the world to create the videos of children ranging from 5 to 12 years of age, then distributed the videos via his company, Azov Films
‘This operation shows that international police cooperation works. Despite large amounts of material and that this is time-consuming work, this shows that the Internet is not a safe haven for crimes against children,’ Norwegian police spokesman Bjoern-Erik Ludvigsen said in a statement.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service said it began its investigation by accessing the company website and making undercover purchases.
People making the images included a youth baseball coach in Washington state who made more than 500 films and a school employee in Georgia who put a camera in a student washroom to videotape images of students' genitals, U.S. Postal Inspection Service inspector Gerald O'Farrell said.
Beaven-Desjardins said the investigation is ongoing and believes more arrests will be made.
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