Serial Romford paedophile downloaded 14,000 child sex abuse images

Mark James Dale mugshot

Serial paedophile Mark James Dale from Romford - Credit: NCA

A serial paedophile from Romford admitted downloading thousands of child porn images and stalking online chat rooms for victims. 

Mark James Dale, 45, of Market Place, was convicted of making indecent images of children after downloading more than 14,000 pictures and videos on the dark web. 

When he was arrested by National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators at his home, he told them: "You know I've been on the dark web, close it down." 

Dale, who has several previous convictions for child sex abuse offences, was caught out when officers managed to link his laptop to a well-known forum for paedophiles. 

It was discovered Dale had been regularly visiting a chat room called 'tweenfanisland'. 

After seizing a laptop and tablet, officers found he had saved 14,222 photos and videos of children being sexually abused - ranging from category A, the most serious, to C. 

NCA Operations Manager Martin Ludlow said: “Every image or video Dale downloaded and viewed depicts a child being exploited. 

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“This is an individual with a history of committing child sexual abuse offences. His willingness to continue with his behaviour, and use of the dark web to try and circumvent those who were monitoring him, shows a total disregard for victims, and the seriousness of his crimes. 

“Working with colleagues from the Metropolitan Police, we will continue to do everything we can to ensure those who pose a risk to children are brought to justice.” 

Dale is a repeat offender and was previously convicted in 2011 and 2019 for similar offences, and his online activity was supposed to be restricted by a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO). This included having to register any digital devices with the Metropolitan Police. 

He was exposed on two previous occasions when he was caught speaking to first an undercover journalist in 2011 and then a vigilante, who passed his details on to the police, in 2019. They were posing as a 12-year-old and a 13-year-old girl when speaking to Dale. 

He pleaded guilty at Barkingside Magistrates' Court today (February 5) and will be sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on February 15.