A phone found on a Newcastle bus has led to the conviction of five paedophiles, and ongoing investigations into a total of 70 people.
The investigation, code named Cammell, was launched after a phone belonging to one Michael Fraser was found on a bus last February. The driver discovered child sex abuse images on the phone while trying to find out who owned it, and immediately passed it on to the police. That was in February 2009, but the details have emerged as a result of Fraser's conviction yesterday.
Police traced Fraser, 50, from Seaham, County Durham by virtue of a credit top-up which was purchased in Tesco. Fraser had used his Tesco Club Card, linking him to the phone and enabling police to raid his house.
When they did Fraser had a couple more handsets on him, and another 12 on the premises, six of which had several hundred indecent images on them - 80 of which were considered category four (one of the worst possible). Tracing the messages sent and received on those phones has already led to five convictions (including Fraser) with a total of around 70 individuals being investigated.
Fraser admitted nine counts of possession and five of making indecent images of children, and couple of counts of possession of extreme pornography.
Last December one of those arrested as part of the investigation, one David Walton of Gateshead, got an indeterminate sentence for possession and distribution of indecent images.
Fraser avoided the distribution charge and by agreeing to treatment he escaped without a jail sentence - receiving a three year community order and a ban on sending or receiving images over mobile phones or computer networks (Sex Offenders' Prevention Order), along with the usual entry on the sex offenders' register.
The Northern Echo has more details. ®