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Tiny UK police force smashes global child porn ring

One of Britain’s smallest police forces cracks a global child pornography ring that circulated indecent photos and videos to 46 countries from a hamlet in rural Lincolnshire.

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Children hold lighted candles during a prayer for Justice and Protection against Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People in Quezon City suburban Manila on December 12, 2010, as part of the annual observance of International Day against Human Trafficking. Cybersex dens are a growing problem in the impoverished Southeast Asian nation that has long struggled to curb child prostitution, according to law enforcers and social workers. (JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)

One of Britain’s smallest police forces has smashed a global child pornography ring that circulated material in 46 countries from its base in a hamlet in rural Lincolnshire, Reuters reports.

Lincolnshire police told the news agency that it led a team to uncover a UK-based online “news service” that provided millions of indecent images and films to more than 1,300 suspected pedophiles, from a server operating from the hamlet of Martin Dales, in the east of England.

More than 130 children in the UK have been rescued from immediate danger, and a number of alleged pedophiles had been removed from positions of trust, including teachers, doctors, youth workers and police officers, The Guardian reports.

Investigators found that the men had circulated the material to 46 countries. Of those receiving the illegal content, 211 were based in the UK, and police said they have dealt with 38 of them to date. The largest number of subscribers to the child pornography service were in the United States, police said.

Investigations into the child porn gang's activities began in 2005 after a tip off from Germany.

During the investigation, police seized an industrial-sized server that was reportedly so large and used so much electricity that it dimmed the lights in the building when operating. The server had the memory capacity of 4.5 terabytes, equivalent to 3.2 million floppy disks.

Four men — Ian Frost, 35, Paul Rowlands, 34, Frost's brother Paul, 37, and Ian Sambridge, 32 — pleaded guilty on Friday at Nottingham Crown Court to various charges relating to the making, distribution and possession of indecent images of children.

"For me, this investigation was ground-breaking," Detective Chief Superintendent Roger Bannister told Reuters. "In many respects it was very much more difficult as the force ... was not only leading a large-scale international operation, but also handling extremely challenging types of criminality."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/110506/uk-police-smash-international-child-pornography-porn