Child porn fears at Worthing Birdman - man arrested

First published in News by

Police are studying more than 100 images seized from a suspected paedophile arrested at the Worthing Birdman contest.

They searched addresses in Worthing and Ipswich after a man was reported to be taking photos of children at the Sussex festival.

Police, who arrested the man on suspicion of possession of indecent images, praised the event’s security and members of the 20,000-strong crowd for raising the alarm.

Shortly after 4.30pm on Sunday a member of the public watching the Worthing Birdman competition from the beach reported suspicious behaviour to an event steward.

They pointed out a man they believed was taking pictures of children from the promenade, to the west of Worthing Lido.

The steward alerted the police, who spoke to a 42-year-old man and arrested him and seized a camera.

Worthing officers contacted Suffolk Police who searched an address in Ipswich, where the man lives.

Discs and memory storage devices were seized from the address and are forming part of an inquiry into the type and number of images the man may possess.

Sergeant Maurice Fisher of Sussex Police said: “As part of the investigation we are examining images and media storage equipment.

“There is going to be a formal examination process by a Home Office laboratory.”

Police are working to establish how many people who went to see the Birdman event may have been affected by the allegedly indecent photography.

Sgt Fisher said the incident showed the importance of people reporting suspicions to the police.

He said: “It is one of those occasions where people are going to be watching what is going on on the pier rather than what other people are doing.

“It was a vigilant member of the public that brought this to the attention of the stewards.

“Without their actions it is very likely this would have gone without intervention.

“it shows that if people have suspicions it is important to bring it to the attention of the relevant authority.”

Sharon Clarke, Worthing’s town centre manager and organiser of the Birdman event, was with senior officers at the time the arrest was made.

She said: “It was dealt with very, very quickly.

“Police were there within seconds.

“What it showed was, with an event like that and the planning that went into it, with everyone working together things can be stopped immediately.”

The arrested man has been released on bail until a date next year while the inquiries continue.

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