A huge paedophile ring has been smashed in Australia following a police sting near to where three-year-old William Tyrell disappeared in 2014.
Federal police yesterday swooped on the town of Kendall in New South Wales (NSW) where a network of alleged paedophiles are accused of abusing and exploiting children and sharing their vile crimes.
Officers said nine men had been charged, with two of the arrests happening in Kendall itself.
The men lived in the town at the time three-year-old William vanished while wearing a Spiderman outfit – dubbed the ‘Australian Madeleine McCann’ due to the nature of his disappearance.
Despite extensive investigations, William has not been found since he was last seen playing at his foster grandmother’s home with his sister.
But, the raids are not believed to be in connection to the ongoing Strike Force investigation into little William’s disappearance.
However it has echoed across Australia – especially as the development comes as police in Europe identified a German man as the prime suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) told local media an operation was carried out with the NSW Police Force.
A spokesman for both forces said: “The investigation is ongoing and further details will be provided at an appropriate time.”
They also stressed there was no immediate threat to public safety.
AFP Assistant Commissioner for the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation Lesa Gale said at least 14 children had been saved from further harm.
It is believed to have been as a direct result of the police investigation.
Ms Gale said: “We suspect this is the biggest domestic child exploitation network uncovered in recent time. Operation Arkstone has shaken some of our most seasoned officers.
“My message today to those offenders watching this presser: ‘We are coming. We are coming for you’.”
She added the children were aged between four and seven.
The two men arrested in Kendall were a 26-year old – charged with two counts of sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10 years, two counts of produce child abuse material and two counts of possess/ control child abuse material using carriage service.
And the second, a 21-year-old man, was charged with six counts of sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10 years and possessing child abuse material.
Both men have been refused bail.
They will appear at Port Macquarie Local Court on September 10.
Another seven men from NSW, Queensland and Western Australia were previously charged as part of the investigation.