The National Crime Squad this morning announced the arrest of 130 people worldwide, 10 in the UK, that are believed to be regular participants in an online paedophile newsgroup.

Internet service provider Demon allowed officers to access its servers in what's claimed to be the world's largest ever collaborative policing operation.

Recent amendments to the Data Protection Act, following the 11 September attacks, can force ISPs to keep customer information, including keeping track of their internet movements, for three years.

"Demon's information was vital and more in depth records will help us in out fight against child porn," said a spokesperson at the National Crime Squad.

Data held by Demon recorded the activity of nearly 1,500 newsgroups over a two-week period, revealing almost 10,000 IP addresses had accessed 30 paedophile sites. These addresses were then whittled down to include only those people responsible for distributing images.

The rise of internet paedophilia is a major cause for concern for all internet users and the NCS is worried by the significant growth in the number of people committing such offences.

"Of course advanced tracking techniques help us to catch more people," said NCS spokesperson. "But work with the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit has convinced us that more people than ever are taking part, simply because the availability of the internet means more people have access to such images."

The NCS said they hoped newly developed facial mapping software would help them identify the victims and arrest the perpetrators.