Front Page

UK

World

Business

Sci/Tech

Sport

Despatches

World Summary


On Air

Cantonese

Talking Point

Feedback

Text Only

Help

Site Map

Saturday, November 22, 1997 Published at 07:48 GMT



UK

School takes action on child porn
image: [ Some of the videos, computer equipment and diaries seized by police ]
Some of the videos, computer equipment and diaries seized by police

The headteacher of a school raided in a national child pornography operation has written to the parents of pupils to allay their fears.

In his letter, the headmaster of Sedbergh School in Cumbria, Christopher Hirst, emphasised the investigation was confined to the school's music department.

In an earlier statement he said: "I can confirm that the police have requested the school's cooperation in certain inquiries they are conducting.

"It is the school's policy to cooperate fully with the authorities at all times. As yet we have not been made aware in detail of the reasons for the inquiries. The school continues to function normally."

The raid was one of 15 carried out by police forces across Britain on Friday.

One person from the Hampshire area was arrested in the operation and is being held for questioning.

Police are also examining a large quantity of books, letters, computer equipment videos and other evidence of paedophile activity seized for fresh leads.

The National Confederation of Parent Teachers' Associations added their voice to those calling for a better vetting system for teachers in independent schools as two private schools were raided by officers looking for child pornography.


[ image: Durham School was one of the locations searched in the raids]
Durham School was one of the locations searched in the raids
Durham School was also searched. Computers, videos and documents were removed.

The operation was co-ordinated by the Paedophilia Unit at Scotland Yard, which has been investigating a suspected major paedophile ring distributing and producing child pornography.

Three teachers and one former teacher at independent schools and a customs officer are reported to be among those being investigated.

It is believed police were given important new leads during their investigation into Adrian Stark, the director of music at St John's School in Leatherhead.


[ image: Adrian Stark committed suicide after being charged in August with possessing child pornography]
Adrian Stark committed suicide after being charged in August with possessing child pornography
Mr Stark committed suicide soon after being charged with possessing child pornography earlier this year.

The operation is the culmination of more than three years' work by detectives. It is thought to be one of the biggest of its kind in Britain.

The Head of the Scotland Yard Paedophilia Unit, Detective Chief Inspector Jim Reynolds, said: "I am hopeful this will lead to prosecutions and further intelligence.

"We have to examine all the material we have seized before we can decide on how to proceed."



Christopher Hirst: "My purpose in writing is to tell you as much as possible about the matter"





Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage

Related Stories

From Despatches
Dawn raids on UK paedophile ring

Internet Links

Internet Watch Foundation

World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children


The BBC is not responsible for the content of these internet sites.
In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online





UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England