AddThis SmartLayers

Cops reopen local press-led paedophile ring probe for third time

A regional press-led investigation into a historic paedophile ring is set to be reopened for the third time in five years.

Essex Police will reopen its probe into the so-called “Shoebury Sex Ring”, which was investigated by journalist Charles Thomson for five years while he was working for the Basildon-based Yellow Advertiser.

The force’s Professional Standards Department was asked to investigate after a victim of the ring complained to the Independent Office for Police Conduct over the way his case had been handled.

The PSD upheld nine of the man’s 15 complaints and three officers now face management action as a result of the year-long review.

One of a number of previous Yellow Advertiser splashes on the long-running investigation

One of a number of previous Yellow Advertiser splashes on the long-running investigation

The case is currently the subject of true crime podcast ‘Unfinished: Shoebury’s Lost Boys’, produced by Charles’s current employer Archant.

The results of the review were revealed just in time for the final episode of the series, prompting Charles to rewrite and re-edit the last episode until around midnight on the eve of its release.

Archant investigations unit editor Tom Bristow also helped with the edit while on holiday in Scotland.

Charles told HTFP: “As listeners hear in the podcast, the complainant in this case contacted me soon after the police showed up at his door and we remained in regular contact, so I was hearing about his dissatisfaction with the actions – and inaction – of the police in real time.

“For Essex Police’s own internal affairs squad to uphold so many of his complaints is a huge development – as is the announcement that officers are now set to pursue the numerous leads they failed to pursue the first time around.

“As ever, I will be keeping close tabs on what happens next.”