Internet child porn - prison officer and ambulanceman cautioned

A LONG-serving Lancaster prison officer and a Morecambe ambulanceman are the first to be caught by local police swoop on internet child porn.

The pair have been formally cautioned over illegal images in their computers.

Their names were first on a list of almost 20 targets in Lancashire police's Lancaster-based Northern division.

Across the county more than 100 individuals face inquiries.

The hit-list is based on information from American investigators who found worldwide links with Landslide Inc, a New York website whose content majored on child porn.

Identities of individuals concerned in Northern division - which includes Lancaster, Morecambe, Garstang and Fleetwood - have not been revealed.

But one is understood to have been a long-serving prison officer in Lancaster.

The second was a member of the ambulance service whose continued employment is believed under review at the moment.

Illegal material was found on their computers after the machines were seized.

"People who are in a position of trust or whose work brings them into contact with children are being looked at first," said Det Supt Mick Turner.

"We have received all the information from the USA. Intelligence officers have been working systematically to link these details to specific people.

"These extensive inquiries are necessary to avoid making mistakes in identity and to provide enough information on which police can act."

Seven thousand Landslide names have been passed to the UK from the USA.

But local police stress that this is relatively "low grade" information, which needs processing and analysis before being of any practical use.

A recorded caution is a legal device short of a conviction. "It is a sort of half-way house," a lawyer explained. The individual is fingerprinted, photographed and DNA sampled.

The caution would have to be disclosed for certain jobs and stays on record for 20 years.