‘Country kids not safe from creeps’

CAUTION ADVISED: Sex Crime Squad Detective Sergeant Richard Long. Photo: Armidale Express

CAUTION ADVISED: Sex Crime Squad Detective Sergeant Richard Long. Photo: Armidale Express

DETECTIVES warn this week’s arrest of an accused paedophile should serve as a warning to local parents that their children might not be safe.

Sex Crime Squad Detective Sergeant Richard Long said country areas like Armidale were not immune to the dangerous activity.

“Armidale is a country town but it’s not protected from this predatory behaviour, because of the internet,” he told The Leader.

“It’s open to the rest of world.”

On Tuesday a 34-year-old man was arrested in a co-ordinated sting in an Armidale carpark after a six-month investigation.

Detectives will allege he was sexually explicit to a young girl and was arranging to meet her for the purpose of sexual activity.

Just last year, the same police squad pounced on a Hillgrove man after he engaged in conversations with an undercover officer posing as a mother with a young daughter.

He was jailed for possessing child abuse material.

Detective Sergeant Long said the cases were different but parents needed to be vigilant.

“The internet has no boundaries, it has no country towns, it’s everywhere and the risks are the same no matter where you are,” he said.

“A lot of the time we get our information from members of the public who have concerns.

“We do act seriously on this type of information that we do receive and we would urge anyone with concerns to contact Crime Stoppers.”

Detective Sergeant Long said regular covert online investigations were conducted by the Child Exploitation Internet Unit and police worked closely with interstate and overseas authorities.

“Parents need to take an active interest in what their children are doing,” Detective Sergeant Long said.

“If you don’t know them, then don’t talk to them, don’t tell them anything.”

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