Police cannot cope with the growing number of cyber crime cases, including hacking, internet fraud and online child grooming, Scotland Yard admitted yesterday.

An e-crime report published by the Metropolitan Police declared that officers do not have the resources to investigate the increasing volume of allegations of electronic crime.

“The Metropolitan Police assessment is that specialist e-crime units can no longer cope with all cyber crime,” detective inspector Charlie McMurdie said in the report. “It is widely recognised that e-crime is the most rapidly expanding form of criminality, encompassing both new criminal offences in relation to computers and old crimes, committed using digital or computer technology.”

The report went on to say: “Prosecutions of virus writers and hackers in the UK have been infrequent up to now. However, the motivation of such offenders has now migrated from the curious adolescent to the profile of the financially motivated professional, often with organised crime links.”

Chief constables from across the UK are lobbying the Home Office for funding to set up a national e-crime force to help combat the growing number of offences.