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Child sex offender is eleventh sentenced under NCA/PSNI investigation into abuse images

A child sex offender has yesterday been sentenced to five months' imprisonment following a joint investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and PSNI.

Timothy Bates, 40, of Belfast, had pleaded guilty to five counts of making indecent images of children, one count of possessing prohibited images of children and one count of possessing an extreme image.

One of the pleas related to material in the most serious category for images of child abuse.

Sentencing at Belfast Crown Court, Judge Smyth said that what had been found on Bates’s computers was “shocking and terrifying” and that the sentence reflected “the seriousness and public disgust at these offences”.

Bates was further placed on the sex offenders register for seven years, a sexual offences prevention order for seven years and will undertake a two-year sexual offenders programme.

Officers who examined his computers found 99 indecent images of children which he admitted downloading using file-sharing software.

Bates was the eleventh person sentenced under Operation Jarra, a joint NCA-PSNI investigation into people using the internet to access child abuse images in Northern Ireland.

NCA branch commander Rob Burgess said: “By downloading or streaming child abuse images, you encourage horrific crimes against children. Someone had to film the  videos Bates watched.

“The NCA and PSNI are alert to the methods child sex offenders use to try to keep their activity secret. We work as partners to safeguard children from the threat of abuse and exploitation and are tireless in our efforts to identify and bring to justice those who would harm them.”

Detective Chief Superintendent George Clarke, Head of the PSNI's Public Protection Unit, yesterday said: "Today's sentencing is a further illustration of our determination to tackle the issue of child sexual abuse.

“The PSNI and our colleagues in NCA work hard together, using a range of investigative techniques to ensure all opportunities are maximised to protect children from harm online and offline and bring offenders to justice and we will continue to do so.

“Our message to those who continue to exploit children online is very clear. You leave a digital footprint when you are downloading or viewing indecent images of children and we have the capacity, capability and determination to catch you and bring you to justice."

If you have concerns about a child or young person, or if you are a child or young person and someone has asked you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable either on or offline, tell police or a trusted adult. You can ring the police on 101, or 999 in an emergency. You can also report it through the CEOP safety centre at

If you receive any inappropriate images or links, it is important that you do not forward them to anyone else. Contact police or tell a trusted adult immediately. By doing this you could help prevent further incidents.

The NCA’s CEOP command's Thinkuknow programme provides information for children, young people, parents and carers about staying safe online and preventing sexual abuse and exploitation. Parents and carers can visit Thinkuknow for advice on keeping their children safe.

If you are a child and you want to speak to someone in confidence about any issue that is upsetting you, you can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or visit the Childline website to chat to a counsellor in confidence.

If you are an adult and you have concerns about a child you can speak to the NSPCC adult helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email
If you need help in an emergency, you should call police on 999.

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation is a registered child protection charity dedicated to reducing the risk of children being sexually abused. It works with entire families affected by sexual abuse, including adult male and female sexual abusers, young people with inappropriate sexual behaviours, victims of abuse, and other family members.

More information for adults concerned about their own behaviour, or that of someone they know, is available from Stopitnow.

More information for parents is available from ParentsProtect.


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