Paedophiles across the region have been put behind bars for a total of more than 500 years thanks to a specialist Regional Organised Crime Unit.
The team of officers are active on social media, instant messaging apps and other online platforms looking for people seeking to groom children online and intercepting them before they’re able to meet youngsters.
Under an operation codenamed Project Atari, which launched in late 2016 and early 2017, the team has achieved nearly 200 convictions against offenders trying to groom children over the internet.
And the collective prison sentences handed down to them has now topped 500 years.
The latest is 28-year-old Hussein Abukar, from Wyndcliff Road in Small Heath, who was jailed for 30 months on Thursday, September 9 after admitting arranging the commission of a child sex offence on March 31.
He sent sexually explicit messages to someone he thought was a 15-year-old boy, but was actually an officer working as part of the team.
Abukar arranged to meet the boy at his home address but was met by West Midlands Police officers and subsequently arrested.
He was also made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years and made to sign the sex offenders register indefinitely.
West Midlands ROCU detective inspector Steve Wills heads up Operation Atari.
He said: "Project Atari’s intention is to safeguard children in the West Midlands. My officers are active continually online to identify sex offenders.
"We want to create an environment of disruption, fear and apprehension amongst people who operate online to sexually abuse children.
"Vigilante 'paedophile hunter' groups have emerged in recent years and there seems to be a perception police are not doing this work, but that’s absolutely not the case.
"We’ve been active online, working alongside social media providers, and protecting children for many years and with great success."
For more information, search 'online grooming' at the West Midlands Police website, message via Live Chat at WMP Online or call 101.