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16 Nov 2007 10:32
A police website has tracked down nine of Britain’s 13 most wanted paedophiles in the past year, the specialist crime team in charge said on Friday.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) said the men had been missing for a combined 20 years.
The centre, linked to the Serious Organised Crime Agency, launched its “Most Wanted” site a year ago with the names and pictures of missing, convicted child sex offenders.
It was the first time such information had been published by a British law enforcement website.
All the offenders had been convicted of a child-sex crime and had finished serving their sentence.
They were being hunted because they had failed to register their details on the Sex Offenders Register and had disappeared, an action which in itself is an offence.
CEOP chief executive Jim Gamble said the missing men had been tracked down in Britain, France, Ireland and Mexico thanks to tip-offs from the public both at home and abroad.
“Three of the nine individuals had been working in this country and abroad in a number of cases in institutions or areas of work closely linked with the education system,” he told BBC television.
He urged parents and teachers to visit the CEOP site and register so that they would be notified when new images of missing sex offenders were put online.
“You are the people in the front line, you are the people who can best protect children.”
He called on missing offenders to hand themselves in or face having their photo put on the internet.
He said the website had received 72-million hits in its first year.
“We know we have had visits to the site from over 150 countries around the world, so if you are a child sex predator the world has become much smaller and more hostile for you.
The site now includes age-modified photos of offenders who have been missing for a number of years.
On Friday the site added its 14th target—Stephen Clare, a 35 to 40-year-old photographer sought by Northumbria Police.
Clare was last recorded living in the Newcastle upon Tyne area but has been missing since 2002 and may now be abroad. - Reuters
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