Podcast to explore Yellow Advertiser historic child abuse probe

The Yellow Advertiser’s award-winning investigation which exposed a child abuse scandal is to be told in a new podcast series.

Shoebury’s Lost Boys will expose how evidence that a major paedophile ring was operating from Southend-on-Sea was seemingly ignored by the authorities until the Yellow Advertiser started investigating it 25 years later.

The series, which is being produced by the Archant Investigations Unit, is hosted by journalist Charles Thomson, who ran a five-year investigation into the case while working for the YA.

Charles said: “This podcast will enable the story to be told with a level of depth not possible within the confines of a newspaper.

“Listeners will hear directly from the people involved about how, as they began uncovering uncomfortable information, dark forces seemed to move against them, plunging them into a living nightmare.

“Like most true crime podcasts, the subject matter is grim. But what happened in Shoebury was a disaster on many levels; childhoods were destroyed, reputations were ruined, lives were lost – and these wrongs have still not been righted.

“Unless we acknowledge and learn from the mistakes of the past, we are liable to repeat them in the future.”

The Investigation won the Society of Editors’ Weekly Newspaper Campaign of the Year award for the YA at last week’s Regional Press Awards, while Charles has won the News Media Association’s Making A Difference Award, ITV and Channel 4’s prestigious Ray Fitzwalter Award for Investigative Journalism and was named last year’s Weekly Journalist of the Year

YA editor Mick Ferris said: “Although some of the details of our investigation will already be known, it’s important that people realise the victims of this heinous group still don’t have any resolution to what they have been put through and until those responsible for covering it up are brought to account, they never will.

“At every step of the investigation, Essex County Council has thrown up brick walls, forcing us to obtain information by going through legal channels, while despite being presented with first hand evidence from one of the victims Essex Police has failed to act.

“The evidence Charlie has gathered over a five-year period speaks for itself as listeners to the podcast will discover. It’s a shocking story of abuse and a 30-year effort to cover it up by authorities.

“If they thought that by simply ignoring us this would go away they are wrong.”

The first instalments of the podcast will become available this coming week. Go to: https://audioboom.com/channels/4977302

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]