A TOTAL of 33 men were arrested by Hampshire police as part of a national operation targeting online child abuse.

The six-month covert campaign, led by the National Crime Agency, saw 660 suspected paedophiles arrested across the country, and the protection or safeguarding of more than 400 children.

In Hampshire, the 33 men were arrested on suspicion of possessing and distributing indecent images of children. A total of 17 children were safeguarded.

Hampshire Constabulary said it will not give a breakdown of the figures by geographical area, or any further details about where or when the arrests were made.

Detective Chief Inspector Becky Riggs, the force lead on child abuse investigations, said: “Today’s announcement of the results of the operation marks the culmination of six months of covert work by our dedicated officers.

“The 37 packages we received are just some of the hundreds of referrals about online child abuse that our paedophile and online investigation team deals with every year.”