German police search dozens of sites in child pornography investigation

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COLOGNE, Germany (Reuters) - German police on Thursday raided dozens of locations and confiscated more than 330 data carriers as they searched for child pornography belonging to 56 people charged with acquiring and storing the illegal material, a prosecutor said.

The raids in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia were carried out on the basis of information provided by the U.S.-based National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

German media said houses and flats were searched.

"We expect the material to result in new investigations and this means the mountain of data we have to process will become bigger," said Cologne Senior Public Prosecutor Ulrich Bremer.

German cyber crime investigators in June uncovered a massive online network of at least 30,000 people who share child pornography and exchange advice on how to sedate and abuse minors.

The scale of the network stunned investigators, and justice authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia set up a special task force to find the suspects and bring them to justice.

(Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Joseph Nasr, Editing by Alexandra Hudson)