Eleven people have been arrested in several cities throughout Greece for involvement in a large child pornography internet trafficking ring, police authorities said late Saturday night. The ring, numbering 15 members, comprises "persons above suspicion", including a priest from the island of Crete, police sources told AMNA, adding that they are charged with moving "very hardcore child pornography material via the Internet".

The sources said that 11 of the 15 ring members have been arrested, while warrants are outstanding for the other four. The accused are 14 Greeks and one foreign national.

The ring members were located during a series of investigations and operations conducted by the Greek Police electronic crimes squad code-named "Butterfly" over the space of four months in several cities throughout the country.

Acting on the information collected throughout the four-month investigation, police, in the presence of prosecutors, conducted searches of suspects' houses in Athens, Thessaloniki, Volos and the island of Crete (Iraklion, Aghios Nikolaos, Ierapetra and Malia) between August 20 and September 20, which turned up 57 hard disc drives, five laptops and a plethora of CDs and DVDs containing tens of thousands of digital video archives and photographs of child pornography total ling 40,000 GB, all of which were confiscated.

The detainees were taken before the local prosecutors, while case files were written up for the four still at large.

The ring was uncovered through the use of a specialised computer programme that traces all items moved via the internet related to child porn.

Child pornography trafficking over the internet has taken on very large dimensions globally.

According to official figures, child pornography material is not produced in Greece, but an estimated 2,000 users in the country log into child porn sites, paying substantial amounts of money.

From 2004 to the present, there have been 680 child pornography related arrests made in Greece.