Four men suspected of child sex offences have been arrested after an online sting by an island daily.
As reported on HTFP in June, the Jersey Evening Post snared six men after investigative journalists at the newspaper posed as a 14-year-old girl using a fake profile on a dating app.
After the JEP passed on details to the States of Jersey Police, the force has now arrested four suspects, aged between 18 and 37.
The quartet, who have since been released on police bail, were arrested at their home addresses on Wednesday for the alleged grooming of a child as well as on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children.
Two other men are also subject to the ongoing police investigation which is being led by the force’s Public Protection Unit.
The investigation was run by two reporters, whose identities have been withheld by the JEP, to highlight the risks children face on the internet.
A statement issued on behalf of the newspaper’s investigation team reads: “We carried out this investigation as a public interest exercise.
“Our focus was not on prosecutions but to raise awareness that even in a place as safe and beautiful as Jersey, some men, when given the opportunity, will try to exploit young children for their own sexual gratification.
“It is great to see the States of Jersey police have taken action and arrested four of the six men we provided evidence on. If our work stops even one child from being groomed online in the future then this is a win for investigative journalism.”
During the investigation one 25-year-old man, who sent a series of sexually explicit messages to the fake account, tried to meet the ‘teenager’ in a family park after school, but was followed to the park on the bus by a JEP journalist.
The paper intends to maintain a number of fictional profiles online following the success of the investigation.