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Australian Federal Police, AFP, badge, afp badge, generic Australian Federal Police

AFP lay more charges over alleged child snatching ring

AUSTRALIAN Federal Police have charged three more people in relation to an alleged child stealing ring just days after the alleged leader of the ring sent a letter to fellow GPs.

This is the second phase of police action taken against members of the group following the arrest of three people on October 17, including Grafton GP Dr William Russell Massingham Pridgeon, 64, who is accused of being the mastermind behind the ring.

Grafton's The Daily Examiner understands Dr Pridgeon has since sent a letter out to other doctors around Australia.

Dr Pridgeon was granted bail in the Brisbane Magistrates Court and ordered to wear a GPS tracker before returning to court in December.

Yesterday AFP investigators from Operation Noetic served notices on a 75 year-old Taree woman, a 68-year-old Newcastle woman and a 46-year-old Townsville woman.

Search warrants were also conducted on four premises in NSW, Queensland and Victoria.

The AFP will allege in court the three women were a principal part of the group's activities, with active roles in supporting the abduction of three children in contravention of two family law orders.

All three children were safely located by the AFP earlier this year.

National manager crime operations Assistant Commissioner Debbie Platz said this week's action highlighted the risk people face if they choose to take the law into their own hands.

"This activity has the potential to significantly endanger the safety and wellbeing of children," she said.

"We want to thank all those people who have come forward after our previous appeal for information from those who may have helped this group, either knowingly or inadvertently."

Anyone with information are encouraged to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.



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