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News, Police Rounds

Computer seized from Thirroul home after child grooming charges

police tapeA MAN has been charged following an investigation by Strike Force Trawler detectives into online child exploitation.

In November 2018, detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) commenced an investigation following a referral from Queensland Police’s Task Force Argos.

Strike Force Trawler detectives began engaging online with a man from the Illawarra region.

Police will allege in court that the man believed he was speaking with a 14-year-old girl and engaged in conversations about sexual acts he wished to perform on the child and sent sexually explicit images and video.

The man also made arrangements to meet with the child for sex.

Following extensive inquiries, a 19-year-old man was arrested by strike force detectives at a business in Unanderra about 10.30am on Tuesday.

During a search of the man and a search warrant at a home in Thirroul, investigators seized a mobile phone, a computer tablet, and a number of electronic storage devices, which will undergo forensic analysis.

The man was charged with using a carriage service to groom a person under 16 years of age for sexual activity, using a carriage service for sexual activity with person under 16 years of age, use carriage service for solicit child pornography, use carriage service to transmit indecent material to person under 16 years of age, and possess child abuse material. He was granted strict conditional bail and is due to appear at Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday February 5.

Strike Force Trawler is an ongoing investigation by the CEIU into the sexual abuse and exploitation of children facilitated through the internet and related telecommunications devices.

Regular covert online investigations are conducted by the CEIU; and police in NSW work closely with their law-enforcement colleagues interstate and overseas.

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About Mick Roberts

A Sydney journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.

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