SEVEN men have been arrested at addresses across Cumbria in a week-long sting, police have said.
Further addresses in South Cumbria are expected to be hit today.
Operation Chiefton saw officers executing search warrants as they target alleged child sexual exploitation.
Those arrested are a 26-year-old from Carlisle; a 59-year-old from Millom; a 31-year-old from Whitehaven; a 22-year-old from Barrow; a 57-year-old from Brampton; a 22-year-old from Workington and a 41-year-old from Wigton.
Police said two more properties in the south of the county will be searched today (Friday).
DCI Nick Coughlan, from the Public Protection Unit for Cumbria Constabulary, said: “Child sexual exploitation is an issue in Cumbria, but thankfully rare; however it is something we are committed to tackling at every opportunity.
"I am pleased with the success of Operation Chiefton, and it demonstrates our dedication to bringing those who exploit innocent children to justice.
“Next week we will be launching a campaign aimed at educating children, parents and local communities alike about how to protect again child sexual exploitation.
"With Christmas around the corner it is vitally important that people know the potential dangers of the internet and social networking.
“We investigate any reports of sexual abuse sensitively and professionally – anyone with any concerns should call Cumbria Police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
A short film of Operation Chiefton is available here: http://youtu.be/k00aQsQA48s