Figures obtained from Devon and Cornwall Police show offences have almost doubled from 2013-2015.

The NSPCC has warned of a sharp rise in the number of offences involving the possession of indecent images in Devon and Cornwall.

According to figures obtained by the charity from Devon and Cornwall Police, the amount of offences has almost doubled in three years.

In 2013 there were a total of 144 indecent images offences, rising to 179 in 2014 and to 281 last year.

Across the UK, the total number of recorded crimes for the possession, distribution and production of indecent images of children rose from 4,530 in 2013 to 10,818 in 2015.

The children’s charity is now calling on police to be given greater resources to tackle what it calls a ‘growing threat’.

Sharon Copsey, head of service for the NSPCC in South West England, said: “These figures clearly show that there is a growing problem of people viewing child abuse material and more needs to be done to tackle the issue.

“We want to see companies who operate online prioritise this issue by committing significant expertise and resources to preventing the publication and distribution of these images.

“Social network providers and other technology platforms must realise that they are the key enablers of online child sexual abuse and make a serious commitment to tackling it.”

Meanwhile, the NSPCC has expressed concern that the significant number of children reported to police for indecent images offences may include youngsters who have shared naked ‘selfies’.

The charity recently published research which showed that only half of parents knew that children taking and sending naked pictures of themselves was illegal, while two out of five parents feared their children might be involved in ‘sexting’ but had not spoken to them about the risks.

Ms Copsey added: “It is alarming to see so many children reported to police for indecent images offences.

“Children need to be taught about the dangers of sending sexual pictures of themselves so they don’t find themselves at risk of harm and abuse.”

The charity is calling for more solutions from internet companies, easier removal of indecent images, and more support for victims of these offences.

Anyone needing advice on issues such as parental controls, privacy settings can get advice from the O2 and NSPCC online safety helpline on 0808 8005002.