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GARDAI WEBSITES TO NET PORN PERVERTS; Fake child sex pages used as trap.

Byline: DECLAN FAHY

GARDAI have joined forces with British police in setting up bogus websites to trap perverts prowling the internet for child porn.

West Midlands police have developed computer software which can track paedophiles trying to view obscene images of children online.

Irish perverts who try to view child porn on the sites will have their details forwarded to Gardai, said British police.

A West Midlands police spokesman yesterday told the Irish Daily Mirror: "If we find that a computer corresponds to an address in the Republic, we will inform the police there."

The software automatically tracks computer users who target the fake sites - which paedophiles think contains sick images of children.

British police have been operating the sites for the past six months and have already made arrests.

Perverts trying to log on to the bogus sites will be sent a series of police warning messages.

When they access the sites, paedophiles are warned repeatedly that they face prosecution.

But if they ignore these warnings, they are tracked by police.

A Garda spokesman said there was "constant information-sharing" between them and other police forces around the world regarding paedophile activity.

He added: "There is always information coming to us. The last major Garda operation targeting paedophiles - Operation Amethyst - was based on information that came from America."

A West Midlands police spokesman said: "We can identify the computer and - via the person's internet account - find their address.

"People can't hide behind their computer - we will know."

The software is designed to respond to key words that are typically used by perverts searching for child sex sites on the internet.

Det Insp Darren Brookes, from Britain's Hi-Tech Crime Unit, said the dummy sites could not be accessed by accident.

He added: "This will help us trace paedophiles, but also scare off those who have been thinking about viewing this material and have just began to put those thoughts into action."

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CAUGHT IN WEB: Bogus sex sites will snare perverts
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 7, 2002
Words:331
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