Thursday 7 April 2011 by Malcolm Everall

Police smash lawnmower porn ring


An international ring of lawnmower enthusiasts has been smashed by police in six European countries after they seized ‘thousands’ of graphic images of grass cutting equipment.

And officers say they have uncovered evidence of a ‘vile’ online culture where enthusiasts openly discuss lawnmowers, ride-on grass toppers, and even strimmers while shamelessly exchanging photographs of their lawncare exploits.

“Back in the day you’d have a couple of blokes in a shed looking at a Flymo catalogue,” said one senior investigator.

“Maybe lending each other a rake.”

“Now you can have individuals in Belgium photographing each other taking turns on a three-year old John Deere X155R, and within hours uploading the images for browsing by their contacts in Holland, England or anywhere.”

“In theory, a child could stumble across this stuff. That doesn’t bear thinking about.”

Police smash ‘ring’

Operation Sward, as the police operation has been named, drew on the expertise of grassland maintenance officers who mounted a series of dawn raids in England and Wales, as well as France, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Those arrested are believed to be regulars in the seedy internet ‘chatrooms’ where maintenance of lawn turf is openly discussed by adults, hiding behind pseudonyms like ‘HusqvarnaBoy,’ ‘Atco_Royale’ and ’99Briggs&Stratton’.

Police revealed that a Special Branch officer – codenamed ‘TwoStroke’ – posed as a ‘lawn-curious’ ingenue, allowing himself to be ‘groomed’ online by a series of mower enthusiasts before sinking into the murky world of lawncare.

It was only then that he blew the whistle.

Success

So far eighteen arrests have been made and a quantity of computer hard drives seized. But the haul of explicit lawnmower material discovered so far may be just the tip of the iceberg – with more arrests to come..

And it’s understood that the hardcore nature of some of the material has already created tension within the investigation.

“Some of the boys were very upset by what they saw,” revealed one source. “Scarification, moss treatment, you name it.”

“They have gardens of their own. It’s not easy to be confronted by evidence of that kind – sometimes involving rotary mowers barely six months old – and not take it personally.”

“Let’s just say they weren’t too gentle with some of the suspects when they took them in.”

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