More than 520 children have been identified as potential victims of online sexual abuse.

The major operation by Scotland police, Operation Lattise, was carried out between June 6 and July 15.

It has recovered as many as 30 million indecent images of 523 children aged between three and 18.

The operation involved 134 investigations which led to raids on the homes of 83 suspects, 77 of whom have been arrested and charged so far.

The offences include rape, sexual extortion, grooming and sharing indecent images of children – some as young as three.

Of the 523 ‘victims or potential victims’, 122 have been referred to child protection services.

More than 100,000 chat logs were assessed, as well as the live streaming of sexual abuse.

About 547 devices were seized as part of the ongoing investigation.

Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham told Sky News that people should be horrified that this was going on in Scotland.

‘This operation is targeting people who are committing these crimes in Scotland, and keeping children safe in Scotland, identifying victims and raising awareness.’

He said Operation Lattise was about ‘shining a light on the scale of this issue’.

‘Online child sexual abuse is a national threat. The reality is it is happening now, not only in Scotland but across the world, to children of all ages, from infants to teenagers,’ he said.

‘Let me make it clear – child sexual abuse and exploitation, which can range from sharing images depicting the rape, sexual torture or assault of a child to grooming or sexually extorting a child takes place solely because of decisions made on the part of the abuser.

‘Online child sexual abuse is not a victimless crime: children, from toddlers to teenagers, are being sexually abused and exploited now in Scotland and when an image or video clip is shared or viewed, they are being re-victimised.’

Joanna Barrett, from the NSPCC, welcomed the crackdown.

She said it was vital to learn more about the nature and scale of this offending in Scotland and its impact on children and young people.

‘We recently highlighted how the internet is playing an increasing role in the sexual abuse of younger children in Scotland, with a 60% rise recorded over a year in the number of indecent communications offences carried out by adults against children aged under 13,’ she said.

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More than 520 children have been identified as potential victims of online sexual abuse. The major operation by Scotland police, Operation Lattise, was carried out between June 6 and July 15. It has recovered as many as 30 million indecent images of 523 children aged between three and 18. The operation involved...