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Wednesday, November 18, 1998 Published at 20:34 GMT


Seven charged over Internet porn

Operation Cathedral is a major international investigation into Net porn

Seven men have been charged in the UK with conspiracy to distribute indecent images of children on the Internet.

They are among 12 people arrested in England in September as part of Operation Cathedral, a British-led global police investigation into an alleged Internet paedophile ring.

After being charged on Wednesday, the seven men were bailed to appear before magistrates in Hastings, East Sussex, on 7 January.

[ image: The Italian arm of the operation]
The Italian arm of the operation
The men, who have not been named, are from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire; Hayes, west London; Milton Keynes, Bucks; Dartford, Kent; Hastings, East Sussex; Catford, south east London; and Bognor Regis, West Sussex.

More than 40 people were arrested worldwide on 2 September in the UK, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the United States.

It was the biggest international investigation led by UK officers, who seized computer equipment, 750,000 computer images of children and 200 computerised videos.

Of the 12 arrested, two other men are to be interviewed again by the police. No proceedings are being taken against the three other men who were arrested.

Police are also investigating Wonderland, a secret Internet club for paedophiles all over the world but based in the United States.

Members are required to prove they have more than 10,000 separate images of children different from the hundreds of thousands already on the database.

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