Daily Express, 2nd December 1987 (ocr)


Police swoop smashes child sex ring By OWEN SUMMERS and JOHN TWOMEY
SCOTLAND YARD detectives were last night poised to make more arrests on child sex allegations which will horrify Britain.
More than 20 men were taken in for questioning during dawn raids yesterday following months of painstaking investigations into an allegedly massive, well-organised paedophile net-work.
The people being held, and those about to be questioned, range in social status from professional men, including a lawyer, to unemployed labourers.
All are allegedly part of the child-sex ring which first reached the public's attention when the Daily Express reported the arrest of a 63-year-old North London trader in October.
Since then 140 boys, mainly from the Brent area of North London, have been interviewed.
Other alleged victims-their ages range from 10 to 15—come from as far away as Devon, Wiltshire, Cambridgeshire and Berkshire.
Many of the youngsters had run away from home.
Police know that there may be scores or hundreds more young victims who have kept hidden as the inquiries went on because of threats by the perverts who run their lives.
Last night Brent Council published a "hot-line" for abused children or any adult suspecting child abuse to ring (01) 900 5520.
"The boys in the case tend to come mostly from deprived families and have been caught up in a maelstrom not of their own making," said David Divine, director of Brent Social Services last night.
The children were targeted for sexual exploitation "with military precision," said Child-watch founder Diane Core, last night.
Mrs Core, who said she has received death threats from paedophiles because of Childwatch's campaign against child abusers and pornographers, added: "Child porn is big business, involving a lot of money. These people have a lot to lose."
But, according to police investigators, the actual cost of dragging the children into vice was tiny. A few pounds, a meal, watching videos, playing pool in a man's home or even a toy train set for the youngest victims, can be sufficient lure.
The full horror of the network emerged after three policemen based at Kilburn investigated the case of the 63-year-old North London trader. Since then teams of undercover police watched the man's home and specially selected officers worked alongside social workers at Brent to coax alleged victims Into telling what they knew. One of the senior officers Involved, Detective Superintendent John Lewis, said last night that every care was being taken to avoid distressing the children further. "Our main concern throughout this inquiry was the welfare of the children," he said.
But Childwatch's Mrs  Cove warned: "Yesterday's arrests are the tip of the Iceberg. The problem of paedophile rings is nationwide."
• Last Tuesday, 18 people were arrested at Congleton, Cheshire, on pornography allegations involving children aged between three and 15 years old.



Police swoop smashes child sex ring (2.12.87)