St Albans man admits role in global paedophile ring

A ST ALBANS man at the centre of a paedophile ring has pleaded guilty to sending indecent images of children all over the world.

Ian Sambridge, 32, was one of the four masterminds behind a seemingly innocent website that allowed paedophiles across the world to view the indecent material.

The site was a news subscription service which ran for seven years until 2009 and made the men over �2 million from those who subscribed. On the surface, the site offered many legitimate users the opportunity to comment on a range of topics but beneath this facade, the site distributed child pornography to more than 1,300 suspected paedophiles.

The site was operated from a small village in rural Lincolnshire by Ian Frost and Paul Rowland and Sambridge and Frost’s brother, Paul, based in Sheffield, assisted them.

Their computer system ran on an industrial sized server with the storage capacity of 3.2 million floppy disks. The server was of such a size that when the police’s forensic team switched it on, the electricity consumption was so great that the lights in the building where it was being examined were dimmed.

Rowlands admitted distributing, making and possessing indecent images of children.

The Frost brothers and Sambridge pleaded guilty to distributing indecent images of children.

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The ongoing operation, which has seen 38 paedophiles convicted, has been led by Lincolnshire Police who say that as a result of Operation Alpine, 132 children are safer.

The four men have yet to be sentenced.