'Dark web' warning to parents as Cleethorpes boy stumbles on grim internet underworld
A 12-YEAR-old boy from Cleethorpes stumbled across an internet underworld selling guns and sex with underage girls while looking for games online.
His appalled father now wants to spread the word to other parents and has even written to the Home Secretary about it.
Robert Palmer, 53, of Arundel Place, Cleethorpes, was horrified when his son Morgan, who suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), told him what he had unearthed.
The computer whiz had found an ominous tutorial, explaining how to download a different web server, which he did, that unveiled the whole section of the internet not available to normal users.
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Services advertised on the dark web include guns, contract killers, drugs, credit card skimmers, sex, child and animal pornography and identities for sale, which can be bought using an online currency called Bitcoins.
Mr Palmer said: "There is nothing you can't get on there and some of it is pretty grim, so I think that other parents should know about it.
"Young people could get hold of drugs without even meeting a drug dealer, which is worrying. Morgan is sensible and luckily he told me.
"These people could sell some awful stuff to anyone without even meeting them – it could be a 12-year-old child and they wouldn't even know."
Mr Palmer, who writes computer programmes himself, contacted Humberside Police but was told nothing could be done – although they have offered advice to parents and assured them that calls will be taken seriously.
Frustrated, he has written to Home Secretary Theresa May about the dark web, urging her to take action to protect the public from such blatant illegality.
However, a spokesman for the Home Office confirmed that they had received the letter but they advised Mr Palmer to report it to the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
Mr Palmer added: "I was really disappointed with the response – this is serious criminal activity but the authorities clearly don't know how to deal with it and seem to be just passing the buck."
Morgan, a gifted pupil at Humberston Academy, said: "This is the mother-load of criminal websites – some of the things on there are appalling.
"I knew what it was straight away so I went to get my dad."
Humberside Police have since offered advice and DCI Andy Oliver, of the Force Intelligence Bureau, promised that reports will be followed up.
He added: "Parents of children should always utilise parental controls on their internet browsers, and be aware of what their children are looking at on the internet.
"The majority of illegal sites and pages are well hidden and cannot be found using standard search engines, but should anyone encounter a website or page they believe to be illegal whilst browsing the net, they should note the URL, webpage name, search engine used and other relevant details and contact the police.
"Your call will be taken seriously and the information followed up and relevant action taken."