Met Police have been cracking down on online child abuse this month, with a sharp rise in cases reported amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Nearly 40 suspected paedophiles have been arrested in the space of a week.

Met Police executed 82 search warrants and safeguarded 138 children between May 18 and May 23, as well as arresting 38 suspects.

In the month starting on March 23, the force made 45 arrests in the space of four weeks for the same type of offences.

Detective Superintendent Helen Flanagan said: "Lockdown has led to a significant growth in online use, including by children.

"Unfortunately, it also means there are a greater number of sexual predators out there trying to target and groom young people."

News Shopper:

The week of action came as the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) revealed UK internet users had made more than eight million attempts to access child abuse images and videos online in a month.

Data from three unidentified household name tech companies showed at least 8.8 million attempts to access illegal content.

The companies registered each time an internet user attempted to access a blocked website address flagged by the IWF in a frequently updated URL list, and covered a month between March and April as lockdown measures were introduced.

Met figures showed that the number of offences linked to accessing child abuse images online rose by 130% between 2016 and 2019.

Figures for the first three months of 2020 have so far remained level with 2019, at around 180 per month, but this is expected to rise.