A major national operation targeting people who access child abuse images online has led to 16 suspected paedophiles being arrested in Lancashire.
Over the last six months, police forces around the country have arrested 660 people as part of the investigation led by the National Crime Agency.
Six of the 16 people arrested by Lancashire Police on suspicion of possessing or distributing indecent images of children are from the Fylde coast.
Nationally, the operation has seen 431 children safeguarded, 660 people arrested, 9172 devices seized and searched 833 properties searched.
Law enforcement agencies are not revealing the methods they used to track down suspects so that they can use the same tactics again in the future.
Det Chief Insp Claire McEnery, from the Lancashire Police Public Protection Unit, said: “Tackling child sexual exploitation is a priority for Lancashire Police and we are absolutely committed to preventing child sexual abuse, helping victims and bringing offenders to justice.
“While the force was recognised in a recent Home Affairs Select Committee Report as leading the way in innovative ways to tackle CSE, we are not complacent and we will continue to work with our partners to protect children and target offenders.
“We are determined to stop children being abused and exploited; to prevent harm to those being abused, to help them stay safe online, and to get out of the exploitative relationship they are in; to bring to justice to all those who commit such abhorrent crimes and to ensure that the public are confident to come forward when they require our help.
“Here in Lancashire we have dedicated resources to address the online abuse of children and will continue to use a range of investigative techniques to target those engaged in such activity. Those people should know that we will find them, arrest them and put them before the courts.
“The public quite rightly expects us to protect children from being exploited and that is exactly what we will continue to deliver.”
As part of the investigation, police in Lancashire have arrested:
A 61-year-old man from Blackburn
A 35-year-old man from Blackpool
A 29-year-old man from Nelson
A 57-year-old man from Fleetwood
A 58-year-old man from Parbold
A 48-year-old man from Thornton Cleveleys
A 57-year-old man from Whalley
A 45-year-old man from Accrington
A 27-year-old man from Burnley
A 44-year-old man from Thornton Cleveleys
A 29-year-old man from Rossendale
A 46-year-old man from Skelmersdale
A 51-year-old man from Lytham
A 59-year-old man from Skelmersdale
A 60-year-old man from Lytham
A 30-year-old man from Preston