A Sunshine North man has been charged as part of a statewide police operation into online child exploitation.

Operation P2P, a joint operation between Victoria Police and the AFP, aimed to identify and apprehend people involved in accessing, downloading and distributing child abuse material via Peer to Peer networks on the internet.

Twenty warrants were executed across several days in March.

A number of items were seized from the properties including computers, tablets, mobile phones, child sex dolls, illegal fireworks, a samurai sword, and drugs including cannabis and GHB.

A Sunshine North property was raided on Thursday, March 15 and a 44-year-old man has since been charged.

A 37-year-old Werribee man, a 49-year-old Truganina man, a 34-year-old Lalor man and a 33-year-old Roxburgh Park man were also arrested and charged after warrants were executed on their properties.

Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said it was important to target people who view and share child exploitation material online given the potential for offences to escalate.

“We know there are links between this type of online activity and contact offending, so it’s important that we target anyone prepared to source this type of material in any way,” he said.

“There is clear evidence that child exploitation material is sometimes used for grooming and seducing victims.

“Part of this operation was focused on establishing whether any of those arrested had moved from online offences to contact offending, and if there were any children currently at risk or who could be identified as victims of a sexual assault.

“These are not simply online choices made for sexual gratification – they are abhorrent crimes against children, the most vulnerable people in our community.”