Online child grooming is not an epidemic

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THE detective in charge of investigating online paedophiles has reassured parents that the dangers in South Holland are not of “epidemic” proportions.

Although there has been a rise in the numbers of court cases before Spalding magistrates, and elsewhere in the county, DS Paul Hutchins says that there are no more paedophiles than there has ever been, just that his dedicated team are bringing more to justice.

He said: “We are taking positive action to track these people down, but everyone has a role to play.

“Parents need to use their common sense to keep children safe on the internet and although it can be hard, if anyone has suspicions about anyone they know they should contact us.

“Unfortunately these things can, and do, rip families apart. Often the first people know about their partner looking at indecent images is when we knock on the door.”

Recent cases to appear in Spalding magistrates include scout leader Christopher Bewick (30), who was jailed for eight months and placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years after being caught with over 1,200 images of children.

And paedophile Colin Simpson (44), of Frostley Gate, Holbeach Fen, was given a 14-week suspended sentenced for possessing more than 250 indecent images, including 152 “unique” pictures.

DS Hutchins said a number of other high-profile cases were also in the process of being prosecuted and should appear in court soon.