First 'cyber-flashing' case probed by transport police

British Transport Police investigate after woman has explicit pictures sent to phone by stranger

British Transport Police
(Image credit: Andrew Cowie/AFP/Getty Images)

British Transport Police are investigating after a woman had pictures of a stranger's penis sent to her phone by someone nearby her on a train.

The victim, 34-year-old Lorraine Crighton-Smith, said she felt "violated" by the "very unpleasant" experience, the BBC reports. Supt Gill Murray said the crime was a new one for her force but they were taking it seriously.

Crighton-Smith received the images via Apple's 'Airdrop' file-sharing system, which is specific to iOS and Mac devices and works via Bluetooth. It is possible to set it so that you cannot receive messages from strangers but Crighton-Smith had not done so.

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She told the BBC: "I had Airdrop switched on because I had been using it previously to send photos to another iPhone user – and a picture appeared on the screen of a man's penis, which I was quite shocked by." She was on a train in South London.

She added: "So, I declined the image, instinctively, and another image appeared, at which [point] I realised someone nearby must be sending them, and that concerned me. I felt violated, it was a very unpleasant thing to have forced upon my screen.

"I was also worried about who else might have been a recipient, it might have been a child, someone more vulnerable than me.

"My name on Airdrop says Lorraine so they knew they were sending it to a woman. The images were of a sexual nature and it was distressing."

British Transport Police said that because Crighton-Smith had declined the images, there was no direct technological evidence for them to work from and they had therefore treated her report as intelligence.

Murray said: "Receiving an indecent image from someone you don't know must be very distressing and something we would take very seriously. If it happens to you, our advice would be to remain calm, retain the image and report the matter to police as soon as possible.

"We have a dedicated Cyber Crime Unit who can analyse mobile phones and track data transfers back to suspects' devices. By linking this to physical evidence, such as CCTV footage or witness statements, we can catch offenders and bring them to justice through the courts."

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