A NATIONAL operation snaring suspected paedophiles has led to the arrest of eight people in North Wales.
The six-month operation, conducted by the National Crime Agency and UK police forces, has seen 660 suspects arrested across the country.
The operation targeted people accessing indecent images of children online.
Det Chief Supt Wayne Jones, of North Wales Police, said: “North Wales Police have been actively working with the National Crime Agency on this operation for some time, in order to target people who access indecent images of children online.
“Our primary objective has been to protect children from harm, identify offenders and secure evidence.
“We will continue to work covertly to catch those people who engage in such offences.”
Of the 660 arrested nationally, 39 people were Registered Sex Offenders but the majority of those arrested had not previously come to law enforcement’s attention.
Det Chief Supt Jones added: “Offenders may feel safe at home, thinking they can anonymously access the internet to view indecent images online.
“They should be absolutely clear that this is not the case.
“We will continue to do all we can to identify these people, arrest them and protect children.”
The operation had stayed covert until details were released yesterday, in order to protect children, identify offenders and secure evidence.
The NCA and its partners have said they would not reveal the methods they used to track down suspects.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick said: “The work undertaken by the National Crime Agency is a tremendous step forward in tackling such crimes, as is the subsequent work undertaken by North Wales Police.
“The perpetrators of these terrible crimes can’t remain hidden forever and this work demonstrates the benefits of collectively working to protect children from harm.
NCA deputy Director General Phil Gormley added: “Some of the people who start by accessing indecent images online go on to abuse children directly.
“So the operation is not only about catching people who have already offended – it is about influencing potential offenders before they cross
The people arrested from North Wales in connection with the national paedophile operation are from Flintshire, Wrexham, Gwynedd and Conwy.
Det Chief Supt Jones added: “North Wales Police have safeguarded children in as much as we have worked closely with our public protection department, social services and the other local authority partners to ensure that the necessary safeguarding measures have been put in place for those identified as having direct access to children, be it through family or employment.”
See full story in the Leader