Police targeting Internet paedophiles have five ongoing cases in the Spalding area where suspects collect shocking images of children being sexually abused.
The revelation comes as national news reports say the Internet trade in child sex abuse images is now “an epidemic” with tens of thousands of paedophiles involved.
The Lincolnshire Police Child Internet Abuse Team – which tracks down paedophiles – currently has 38 suspects on bail for possessing child sex abuse images.
The head of the dedicated police team, Det Insp Simon Lovett, says: “We are never short of people who we track down, arrest and prosecute. We have got a number of cases in the county going through the investigation and court process.
“We very rarely get people pleading not guilty because the evidence is usually overwhelming.
“Before the Internet, we didn’t get Internet crime. It’s an increasing problem and we are doing our best, with our partners, to track these people down and to bring them to justice.”
Trade in child sex abuse images is worth millions of pounds to ruthless crooks behind it.
Lincolnshire Police and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre smashed an international paedophile network based in a tiny hamlet called Martin Dales, near Woodhall Spa, where crooks were estimated to have earned £2.2million from selling sick images.
In 2011 the four men behind it received sentences ranging from 12 months’ prison, suspended for two years, to 33 months in prison.
The landmark case followed a four-year investigation.
It resulted in 132 children being safeguarded and paedophiles being taken out of positions of trust – these included teachers, doctors, youth workers and police officers.
The crooks distributed millions of child abuse pictures to more than 1,300 suspected paedophiles in 45 countries.
Demand for such pictures fuels continued sexual abuse of children.
Det Insp Lovett says: “Each one of these pictures is a crime scene. A child has suffered for that picture to be taken.
“I would urge anybody, including family members of those who have any of these indecent images of children, to call the police on 101.
“We will treat the information in the strictest confidence and we will act upon it.”
Britain’s paedophiles pay to view live webcams around the world not only to watch abusers commit sex acts on children, but to dictate precisely the type of abuse they want to see happen purely for their own sexual gratification.
Det Insp Lovett said: “Abuse to order is an increasing problem.”
Paedophiles are turning to the so-called “dark net”, using browser software to make their computers undetectable. The BBC revealed last week that one dark Internet site had 40,000 user accounts and up to 500 page views per second.
• Last November, Insp Lovett warned children not to talk to strangers online – paedophiles themselves pose as children in chatrooms, make friends with innocent young victims and ask them to perform sex acts on webcams.