Two men aged 54 and 47 picked up as police across the UK target suspected internet paedophiles.

TWO North Devon men were arrested yesterday (Wednesday) as part of a nationwide police operation targeting paedophiles.

The pair, aged 54 and 47, were arrested on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children during a swoop that saw 29 arrests in Devon and Cornwall, and more than 650 nationwide.

The regional operation was carried by Devon and Cornwall Police working with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Association of Chief Police Officers.

The focus of the investigation was to prevent child abuse before it happens and safeguard children who are victims or might be at risk of sexual exploitation.

Seven warrants were also completed targeting people who had viewed indecent images of children online, which were not part of the NCA operation, leading to seven further arrests.

No one has been charged yet and all suspects have been released on police bail.

“We know some of the people who access indecent images of children online go on to abuse children directly and this operation has been focussed on preventing this from happening,” said Detective Chief Inspector Brett Mitchell of the Public Protection Unit.

“Targeting offenders who access indecent images of children online influences potential abusers, preventing children becoming victims of sexual abuse.

“The internet is not a safe space for paedophiles to access and view indecent images of children. Their activity leaves a digital footprint, which we will find.

“Devon and Cornwall Police will continue to target paedophiles as part of our daily operational activity as we are committed to protecting children and finding people who believe it is acceptable to commit this crime.”