Armed police raid Mr La Farge's home in Southend, where a laptop was found with more than 20,000 images of children in full school uniform.

A professional photographer from Southend was taken into police custody earlier today after cops received a tip-off from a member of the public. When 43-year-old Nathaniel La Farge’s home was raided, a laptop was discovered with more than 20,000 images of children in full school uniform, and detectives now face a huge task to contact parents of the children who have been found on the hard drive. According to a neighbour who witnessed the raid in Milton Lane, Mr La Farge was heard screaming ‘it’s my job, it’s my business,’ over and over again, but he was quickly led away by cops through a garden gate to avoid the group of enraged parents that had already gathered outside his front door.

At a press conference, Det Ins Nigel De Fraggleworth of Southend CID gave what he described as ‘limited details’ of the investigation that is now underway. He said: ‘Within the last seven days, we received an anonymous email from an individual who was concerned about Mr La Farge and his long-established school photography business La Farge Photography that has been operating in South Essex since 1997. We obtained court documents to allow us to enter his home on Thursday, and we discovered a laptop with more than 20,000 photos of children in full school uniform on there. While we cannot go into the finer details during our investigation, we can confirm that the images were arranged in folders named after each school that he visited, and also that within each of these folders that the images were arranged into year groups and classes. We also uncovered a number of images that seemed to have brothers and sisters in the same shots, and we are treating these pictures with the highest level of priority. We must point out at this stage that we have not found any images of a sexual nature.’

Southend News Network’s Chief Reporter received an email claiming to be from the member of the public who originally contacted the police about Mr La Farge. It said: ‘Although he claims that he holds images of children in full school uniform so that parents can order prints and re-prints for a period of time, I felt that there was a risk that he had some sort of fetish for children in school uniform. My two boys were photographed by him when he visited their school a few weeks ago, and while I appreciated the quality of the images I strongly object to their photos being stored anywhere in any form as you never know who will see them in this day and age.’

Elaine Fridge is a local campaigner for child protection and safeguarding in Southend On Sea, and she said: ‘I am delighted that the authorities have caught up with him. Too many businesses have been getting away with storing images of our children in full school uniform, and I have even heard that there are nasty individuals on the dark web who get some sort of kick out of the word ‘proof’ being plastered over a child’s face as well. I have launched a petition for all school photographers to be forced by law to only use a Polaroid instant camera when visiting schools, and this is the best possible way of keeping our children safe and protected at all times.’