Child sex doll
Some fear child sex dolls normalise paedophilia and encourage sex attacks National Crime Agency

A charity has been criticised after suggesting paedophiles should be given life-like child sex dolls on prescription.

The controversial comments – condemned by the NSPCC – came after a judge ruled that sex dolls made in Asia to look like young children were "obscene".

The landmark ruling related to former primary school governor David Turner, who tried to import a 3ft child doll into the UK – one of more than 100 seized at the border by UK law enforcement.

But the charity StopSo, which offers therapy to sex offenders, said the dolls could help those attracted to children manage their behaviour safely.

The organisation's chairman, Juliet Grayson, told WalesOnline: "If someone comes forward and says, 'I am attracted to young children, and I want help to ensure that I never act on that attraction, so that I never harm a child,' then maybe society should consider the use of dolls in a carefully regulated way.

"Perhaps a 'prescription' for the use of a child sex doll could be given, alongside therapy, mentoring and supervision, could help the individual remain law abiding and fully accountable for their behaviour."

Grayson revealed she already knows of one man who had two children dolls. She said he was "very happy to use them rather than touching a child... this wasn't great but better than nothing."

She added: "This carefully regulated use of child sex dolls might be one way to keep children safe. It feels like dangerous territory, but is certainly worthy of consideration.

"Society needs to reach a point where a teenager can say to his mum, 'I am a paedophile', and she will get him the right kind of help to manage his behaviours in pro-social ways."

The unorthodox approach to reducing child sex offences was not shared by the NSPCC and Barnado's, however.

Jon Brown, head of the NSPCC's child sex offences programme, warned that the dolls could encourage paedophiles to attack children.

"There is no evidence to support the idea that the use of so-called 'child sex dolls' helps potential abusers from committing contact offences against real children," he said.

"And in fact there is a risk that those using these child sex dolls or realistic props could become desensitised and their behaviour becomes normalised to them, so that they go on to harm children themselves, as is often the case with those who view indecent images."

Barnado's Chief Executive Javed Khan added: "The importation of child sex dolls into the UK is an extremely disturbing new phenomenon and one that needs to be tackled with robust legislation and enforcement."

It comes after a joint operation by the National Crime Agency [NCA] and Border Force has sought to clamp down on a rise in the number of child sex dolls being imported into the UK.

Investigators say the silicon dolls, which can cost thousands of pounds, are being used by dangerous paedophiles as sex aides.

A spokesman for the NCA said: "We believe that these dolls could normalise a sexual interest in children and have a desensitising effect which is obviously extremely dangerous.

"As is often the case, importers of dolls have been prosecuted for associated offending such as possession of indecent images of children.

"The dolls are a flag of interest in children in my opinion. If they hadn't been discovered we would not have been able to prosecute for other aggravating offences."