Herts police issue countywide warning after surge of Skype sex blackmail cases

A former science teacher from Codicote has been charged with four child sex offence charges.

A former science teacher from Codicote has been charged with four child sex offence charges. - Credit: Archant

Police are warning young men across Herts to be on their guard after a surge of reports about victims who have been enticed by an unknown person to carry out explicit acts via Skype and then blackmailed.

They have already received 20 reports from across the county this year, with men aged between 17 and 36 complaining that they have been contacted by a ‘young attractive woman’ via social media and encouraged to have conversations via the online video chat service.

The woman encourages the victim to perform a sexual act for her to view but soon after is contacted by the perpetrator who claims they have videoed the event and demands money.

The victim is told that the video will be posted to their friends and family via social media if they do not pay up.

The men are being approached on various sites, but the main channel is through friend requests on Facebook.

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In some cases money has been transferred to the offender – often in the region of £500.

Det Insp John Hazeldine, who has helped investigate many of the incidents, said: “This is a scam which we believe is taking place across the country, and not confined to Hertfordshire. However, it is important that young men are made aware that this is taking place so they do not fall victim.

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“I’d urge anyone faced with a similar approach, not to engage in such activity.”

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