THE Wonderland Club, named after the Lewis Carroll novel Alice in Wonderland, was one of the prime targets by police fighting child pornography across the world.

Andrew Aspinall was the only arrest in Scotland when police worldwide launched Operation Cathedral in 1998.

More than 100 men in 13 countries were arrested and it was estimated that they had exchanged 750,000 explicit pictures of children being sexually abused. The officers could identify 1236 children as victims.

The raids led to more than 100 people being arrested in other parts of the world, including some women. There were 32 addresses in the United States and 18 in Germany.

Police in Germany said the investigations had pointed to some 200 individuals involved in making pornographic child videos available on the internet.

Six members of the club committed suicide after the raids which, in Britain, were co-ordinated by Scotland Yard's national crime squad.

Seven club members have already appeared in court in England, where they admitted child porn charges and were jailed for between 12 and 30 months.

There was public dismay at the sentences. All will be placed on the sex offenders' register, but five of them will be removed after seven years.

Mr Aspinall was the only one of those arrested during Operation Cathedral to have pleaded not guilty and opted to go to trial.

The Wonderland club was set up in the US, and most child porn is from American, Russian, and Japanese sites. The club's activities in the UK came to light only during separate investigations by American authorities in the mid-1990s.

US customs officers tipped off Greater Manchester police and led them to Gary Salt, of Stockport, who was sentenced to 12 years for sex offences in 1998.

The customs officers were investigating the activities of a group of Californian-based paedophiles who were abusing two children ''live'' on the internet.

The images held on Salt's computer pointed police in the direction of other paedophiles in the UK who emerged as members of the Wonderland Club.

Salt was said to have been held in high regard among the paedophiles, as he was abused as a child himself in an appalling example of the perverts' values.

He had taken pictures of himself abusing two girls and a boy, all under 10. The depraved images, known as the Hell Series, were found on computers belonging to all of the English defendants imprisoned this year.

The evidence in the US of the live abuse sessions being broadcast on the internet showed that watchers were giving instructions to the abusers via computer.

In the UK alone, there was so much evidence that police needed a seven-ton truck to take it all away.

A spokesman for the London-based national crime squad yesterday declined to comment on the Linlithgow court decision, but added that Operation Cathedral had been a very successful one.

In Scotland, those accused of distributing child pornography can be tried under the common law offence of obscenity, which can lead to a life sentence.

In April, Scottish police forces provided seven officers for the UK's first internet policing group, devoted to stamping out paedophile gangs and other cyber-criminals.

The new body is to lead the fight against crimes such as internet fraud, computer hacking, and paedophilia. The group includes experts from the National Criminal Intelligence Service, national crime squad, Customs and Excise, and police forces.