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Gardaí seized a number of 'child sex dolls' in raids today

It is understood up to 30 homes are being targeted in today’s searches.

Image: Shutterstock/Andrey_Popov

Updated Jul 26th 2018, 3:49 PM

GARDAÍ HAVE SEIZED a number of “child sex dolls” today as part of an investigation into the distribution of child exploitation material.

A total of 31 homes were being targeted in today’s searches, which are part of Operation Ketch. The operation is proactively targeting the possession and distribution of child sexual abuse images.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll said the dolls represented an “added concern”.

“It is an issue that we have discussed in recent times with Customs officials. We are aware that they have been imported to the state and a number have been seized at points of entry to the state. But this is the first time we have come across one in a search of this nature.

“It is an added concern in area that already gives considerable concern to say the least.”

O’Driscoll said that gardaí hoped that operations like Ketch would discourage those who used child abuse images.

A large number of computers and other electronic equipment has been seized by investigating gardaí. No arrests were made at the scenes, but nine admissions have been made, gardaí said.

In February this year officers working on this operation seized tens of thousands of abusive images of children in 31 searches of private residences, mainly in Leinster and Munster. Two of those arrested in that operation were juveniles who have been referred to diversion programmes.

At the time gardaí said at least four other searches of this kind were planned before the end of the year.

As well as investigations by gardaí on the ground in Ireland, Operation Ketch involves the use of intelligence from international agencies including the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, and the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre.

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