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Police in warning to children over 'sexts'

By Matthew Cooper

A police force has warned schoolchildren who share so-called “sexts” with friends over the internet that they could face prosecution in the criminal courts.

In a letter sent to schools in Nottinghamshire, the county's sexual exploitation investigation unit said officers were receiving reports on a daily basis of naked images being sent between teenagers using mobile phones.

In one recent case cited in the letter, a teenage girl who sent a topless picture of herself to her boyfriend was investigated after being deemed to have distributed an indecent image of a child.

The girl's boyfriend, who forwarded the image to friends after they split up, is reported to have received a caution.

In the letter sent to school officials, Detective Inspector Martin Hillier warns that court action for such offences may even see a child forced to register as a sex offender.

The officer wrote: “I have grave concerns over the amount of referrals Nottinghamshire Police are receiving on a daily basis in relation to naked images being sent between teenagers via either social networking, texts or mobile phone apps.

“It is crucial that children (under 18 years) understand that every internet site and social networking site is monitored by an administrator.

“When photographs that fall within the category of an indecent image (even if taken with consent) are uploaded, reports are made by the administrators to the police. If a person is aged over 10-years-old and distributes or shares (even to friends) an indecent image, then they can be arrested, charged and dealt with for this offence.”

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