The number of people seeking help to stop looking at sexual images of children has increased almost three-fold in just six months.

Police say the increase has been prompted by a major public awareness campaign.

In the six months between July 2017 and January 2018, 1,747 people from the North West contacted Stop it Now!, seeking help for either their own online sexual behaviour, or for that of someone they knew.

In the following six month period that figure had leapt to 3,549, a rise of 103 per cent.

Stop it Now! is a child sexual abuse prevention project run by child protection charity The Lucy Faithfull Foundation.

Across seven areas in the north west Cumbria saw the second steepest increase of 186 per cent, with numbers up from 86 to 246.

People seeking help and support were able to access it at or via the confidential and anonymous Stop it Now! helpline 0808 1000 900.