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Two held over 'live child abuse on web'

An American mother-of-four was due to appear in court today charged with child sex abuse after an investigation by police in the UK led to her arrest.

The 30-year-old woman was taken into custody by officers in the state of Maine on Friday evening, following a tip off from the Child Exploitation Investigation Team at West Midlands Police. She was subsequently charged with gross sexual assault.

It is alleged the woman had used a webcam to broadcast live images of child sex abuse on the internet. Her children - aged between 18-months and five years old - have been taken into protective care.

Officers removed computers and associated hardware from the woman's home in the Mars Hill area.

The same investigation led to the arrest of an 18-year-old man in Walsall, shortly after 8pm on Thursday. He appeared before magistrates in the town on Saturday morning charged with possession and distribution of abusive images of children.

Detective Chief Inspector Dave McCrone, from the Public Protection Support Unit at West Midlands Police said: "Our officers worked through the night on Thursday and Friday to ensure the identification and safety of these children across the other side of the world.

"Whilst inquiries are ongoing and the investigation continues, I can only comment on the speed and efficiency with which we were able to respond which led to the protection of four children.

"Many people use the internet safely and securely, however there is a small minority who choose to use it to commit criminality.

"We work to make people safer, sooner. The very same technology used to commit the crime enables us to work quickly to protect those who may be vulnerable."