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Reports of 'revenge porn' have TRIPLED

By Lisa O'Brien | Crime | Published:

Reports of “revenge porn” to the police force covering Shropshire have almost tripled in less than three years, new figures show.

In 2015, West Mercia Police received 27 reports involving the alleged disclosure of private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress.

The number of reports stood at 58 last year and figures show at least 74 reports have been made to the police force so far this year.

The victims in all cases were over 18.

So far this year, nine people have been charged or summoned to court over the offence, compared to seven last year and five in 2015.

It comes as it has emerged Twitter is reportedly introducing new rules around hate symbols, sexual advances and violent groups, in an effort to counter perceptions that the social network is not doing enough to protect those who feel silenced on the site.

The offence of disclosing private sexual images, commonly known as revenge porn, was introduced in 2015.

Figures from West Mercia Police show 15 reports were still under investigation at the end of September this year.

Of the 159 reports since 2015, seven cautions have been handed out by the police force and three cases reached a community resolution.

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But in nearly a third of all cases, evidential difficulties prevented further action.

Shropshire Police Superintendent Jason Wells said: “It may be that people feel more confident to report instances of disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress, or so-called ‘revenge porn’. That could be because the law making this a criminal offence has now been in place for about two years, so more people know where and how to report offences. We want to encourage anyone experiencing a crime like this to report it to us.”

Last year, Dean Morgan, of Stonebridge Close, Aqueduct, Telford, appeared in court and pleaded guilty to posting explicit pictures of a woman on a social media site.

Telford Magistrates Court heard he carried out the “revenge porn” by posting the images on a Facebook “name and shame” site after a relationship ended.

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The posting of the photographs led to the victim losing friends and also caused people to abuse her on the street.

Morgan pleaded guilty to two counts of disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress and one count for harassment without violence.

He was given an 18-month community order and an eight-week curfew.

He was also ordered to pay £260 in court charges.

In 2015, Darren Lindop of Haygate Road, Wellington, appeared at Telford Magistrates Court for posting a naked photo of an ex-partner on Facebook following an argument.

Lindop admitted disclosing a private sexual photo with intent to cause distress.

He was given a 24-month community order and ordered to pay £135 costs, £150 criminal court charge, £60 victim surcharge and £50 fine.

Reports can be made to West Mercia Police on 101.

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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