Making a Difference 2019

The Yellow Advertiser – Shoebury Sex Ring Exposed

In 2015, the Yellow Advertiser began working with a network of whistle-blowers who had concerns about a "bungled" paedophile ring investigation in the 1980s. After months of interviews with a victim, detectives launched a further investigation in November 2018. Police approached him in 2017 after finding his name in documents handed over by whistle-blowers.

Since the paper began its campaign, seven victims have come forward and has sparked two prior fresh investigations, in 2016 and 2017, which led to an arrest. Police said the coverage inspired victims of unrelated abuse come forward for the first time.

Shoebury Nov 2018The campaign today

Charles Thomson, Chief Reporter at the Yellow Advertiser, also discovered the existence of a report, which covered allegations that civil servants were involved inabusing vulnerable children. Charles campaigned for that report to be released but was told there was 'no public interest' in its contents. 

Charles has taken this complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office, as of May 2019, the Yellow Advertiser currently have 10 active Freedom of Information requests, three open cases with the Information Commissioner and one first-tier tribunal pending over Essex Council’s refusal to release the report, despite numerous requests from other parties to release it, including lawyers representing alleged abuse victims.

Since it began, the campaign has won five national awards and commendations and was nominated for another four at the 2019 Regional Press Awards, of which it won two.