Police and locals joined forces to catch a suspect in Miles yesterday.
Police and locals joined forces to catch a suspect in Miles yesterday. Trevor Veale

Teen charged with child grooming, exploitation across state

OFFICERS from around the state arrested a teenager in Blackwater as part of a child exploitation investigation yesterday.

Police from the Cairns Child Protection Investigation Unit travelled to Central Queensland on Tuesday and with the help of local detectives, issued a search warrant at the 18-year-old's Blackwater home.

The man was taken into custody at the address and charged with eight offences.

These include using a carriage service to solicit child pornography material, using a carriage service to menace or harass, grooming a child under 16 years with intent, possession of child exploitation material, and other related offences.

The charges relate to the alleged content of social media interactions the man initiated with a number of children aged under 12 in the Cairns area.

A number of electronic devices were also seized in the search warrant for further examination.

The man is expected to appear in the Blackwater Magistrates Court on November 30.

Rockhampton CIB Detective Inspector Darrin Shadlow said this incident was "very worrying and concerning”.

He said it was a timely reminder for parents to always be vigilant with their children on social media.

"Know who they are talking to, know what platforms they are using and take an interest in that,” he said.

He said parents need to have an active role in the social platforms their children are using.

"If you don't know the person personally, there is a chance that they are not who they report to be,” he said.

"It could be someone grooming the child.”

Det Insp Shadlow said thankfully this offender has attained the children's addresses.

It is understood the matter was investigated over a period of a week.

"They don't have to be in the same town or suburb,” he said.

"It can go worldwide.”