Five men who thought they were chatting online in an alleged bid to prey on a child have been charged with sex offences after a Queensland police sting.

The accused, aged between 22 and 58, did not know each other or that the “parent” they were allegedly speaking to online were in fact officers from a specialist police taskforce investigating child exploitation and abuse, Argos.

Gold Coast police coordinated with Argos detectives and swooped over the last four days, with arrests being made in apartments, at a bus stop and in a driveway.

Five men charged with child sex offences by Queensland police.
The men spoke with detectives online to arrange to access a child. (Queensland Police)

Police allege the men were using the internet to “meet and access a child” with the intention of engaging in sexual acts.

The accused are facing a string of child sex offences:

  • A 58-year-old Mermaid Waters man was charged with grooming a parent or the carer of a child under 16 years with intent to procure child for a sexual act
  • A 25-year-old Mermaid Beach man was charged with grooming a parent or the carer of a child under 16 years with intent to procure child for a sexual act, and the solicitation of child abuse material by using a carriage service
  • A 22-year-old Southport man was charged with grooming a parent or the carer of a child under 16 years with intent to procure child for a sexual act
  • A 28-year-old Upper Coomera man was charged with grooming a parent or the carer of a child under 16 years with intent to procure child for a sexual act
  • A 45-year-old Helensvale man was charged with grooming a parent or the carer of a child under 16 years with intent to procure child for a sexual act

They are due to appear in court between November 29 and December 6.

Five men were charged with child sex offences after a Queensland Police sing targeting child exploitation on the Gold Coast. (Queensland Police)

Detective Acting Inspector Cameron Burke said police will continue to target offenders who “seek to sexually exploit children online”.

“This operation also highlights that parents and carers need to have regular conversations with their children about online safety and the importance of having a trusted adult that they can confide in if they are worried about an online experience or are feeling unsafe,” Burke said.

Five men charged with child sex offences by Queensland police.
The police sting resulted in the five men being charged with child sex offences. (Queensland Police)

Detective Acting Inspector Greg Aubort said police stings like this draw out offenders who lurk online with the intent of grooming and sexually abusing children.

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