Other teens may have been blackmailed here like tragic Ronan Hughes

NewsBy Jamie McDowell
Ronan Hughes took his own life after being blackmailed
Ronan Hughes took his own life after being blackmailed

The PSNI has confirmed that it is investigating claims by other people in Northern Ireland that they were targeted by online blackmailers in the same way that teen Ronan Hughes was.

The 17-year-old from Coalisland took his own life this month after he was blackmailed by a gang who tricked him into posting images online.

The police said they believe the County Tyrone teenager was targeted by an international gang who then used the pictures to demand money.  

Now the police are investigating claims by others in Northern Ireland that they have been targeted in the same way. 

A spokesperson for the PSNI said:

"We've received a number of reports from persons who feel that they have been blackmailed as a result of footage that they have willingly participated in and which could be embarrassing if released.

"It is our assessment that the perpetrators of these crimes may well be located in another jurisdiction, possibly on the other side of the world.

"Given the potential embarrassment for anybody who is the victim of such a blackmail, it is our belief that such crimes are probably under-reported, and in some cases some people may prefer to pay money rather than contact the police and seek assistance.

"I would urge anyone who feels that they could become the victim of blackmail or may already be the victim of blackmail to have confidence to come forward and contact the police.

"We have established procedures for dealing with webcam blackmails and even though it may be embarrassing, anybody who is the victim of such a crime should be reassured that we are able to deal with it."