By Martin Johnston
New Zealand agencies have helped net a six child sex offenders. Photo / Thinkstock
Six offenders have been caught in a New Zealand operation targeting an online child sexual abuse network.
Operation Hyper also identified four children who had the potential to be harmed, and rescued a 6-year-old victim in the UK.
The operation began last June when a referral by Queensland police led to a Customs search warrant at the home of a 41-year-old man in central Auckland.
His young child was assessed by government agencies for harm.
Information gained as a result of this warrant also identified other offenders in New Zealand and the UK.
Internal Affairs, police and Customs conducted simultaneous warrants on Auckland’s North Shore and in Levin, while UK police arrested a man in West Yorkshire, a media conference in Auckland today was told.
As a result of these warrants another man living in the UK was identified, and in December, UK police arrested the 62-year-old, and rescued his grand-daughter from physical sexual abuse, which was also being filmed and distributed.
In New Zealand, Customs and police conducted a further search warrant at a Northland home and assessed of two young children living at the property.
Gary Ronald Barnes, 53, of Levin, who was arrested by NZ Police, was sentenced last October to two years and five months’ imprisonment for 25 counts of possessing an objectionable publication and five counts of distributing objectionable publications.
The central Auckland man charged by Customs for possession and exportation is due to appear in court for sentencing in March.
A 50-year-old North Shore man faces similar charges, laid by Internal Affairs, and charges are yet to be laid against the 32-year-old Northland man.
Both men arrested in the UK are yet to be sentenced.
The New Zealand Herald