SIX people have been arrested in Dudley borough following a major police operation targeting suspected paedophiles.

Across the West Midlands, 41 people have been arrested on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children.

Currently only one man has been charged with making an indecent image of a child, with the others bailed pending further enquiries.

West Midlands Police was one of 45 forces across the UK taking part in the six-month operation, led by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Detective Superintendent Martin Hurcomb, from the force’s public protection unit, said: "The majority of those arrested were not previously known to law enforcement agencies, certainly in a child protection context; however - they are now, and they will stay in our sights."

He continued: "Details of how the suspects were tracked down are not being revealed as we want paedophiles to be uncertain about how we identify them - offenders need to know that the internet is not a safe anonymous space for accessing indecent images.

"Protecting children who are victims of, or who might be at risk of sexual exploitation is an absolute priority for the force."

NCA deputy director general Phil Gormley said: "This is the first time the UK has had the capability to co-ordinate a single targeted operation of this nature. Our aim was to protect children who were victims of or might be at risk of, sexual exploitation.

"Some of the people who start by accessing indecent images online go on to abuse children directly. So the operation is not only about catching people who have already offended- it is about influencing potential offenders before they cross that line."