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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 February, 2004, 15:33 GMT
Worldwide porn networks 'smashed'
Police say they have cracked a number of worldwide networks offering child pornography.

On Thursday Operation Odysseus saw simultaneous raids in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

It focused on people using internet boards to exchange child porn and followed a long intelligence operation.

Europol say several people have been arrested and several computers and videos have been seized.

A spokeswoman for the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, which carried out the operation in the UK, told BBC News Online the material being exchanged was "particularly serious".

An earlier worldwide operation, codenamed Twins, targeting a group known as the Shadows Brotherhood, resulted in 120 arrests worldwide.

Mariano Simancas, of Europol's serious crime department, said: "Today's operation has exposed a complex and organised hierarchical structure that internet networks of paedophiles and child molesters are using to protect themselves, by hiding their identities and their atrocious activities.

"The international law enforcement community has again given a strong and efficient answer".

The BBC's Geraldine Coughlan
"Police aren't saying how many people have been detained"

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