PARENTS and headteachers have expressed alarm over a controversial website which they say could be used by paedophiles to 'groom' girls as young as 13.
Thousands of Chester school pupils past and present have posted profiles - some sexually explicit - on teen networking website Bebo.
And it took a Chronicle reporter just minutes to create profiles on several Chester school pages masquerading as a pupil.
Anyone with a profile is able to send other members messages, and anyone aged 13 or over can join.
That means users can contact one another and arrange to meet, raising fears the site could be a haven for perverts.
We found several explicit pictures alongside a profile claiming to be that of a 19-year-old former Blacon High School student who says she is a model.
The member reveals: 'I got kicked out of Bebo last time 4 me pics'.
Under the Christleton High School section, our investigation uncovered a naked photo purporting to be that of a 16-year-old pupil.
And one King's School profile is accompanied by a picture of a female with her denim shorts pulled down who claims to be a 'hot 17-year-old'.
There are 350 Christleton profiles and 240 under King's.
Other schools represented include Upton with 500, Queens Park High with 350, Tarporley High with 320, Frodsham with 270, and the Hammond with 60.
But profiles can be posted at Blacon High School, Helsby High School, Queen's School and Bishop Heber High School by invitation only due to the introduction of increased security measures by site managers.
Concerned mother-of-two, Kath Lloyd, whose children Joanne, 18 and Jonathan, 16, have just completed their studies at Kingsway High School, said: 'As a parent I knew nothing about this which is a huge concern because paedophiles could access this site - that's the world we live in.
'It's a worry that the profiles are posted under school headings because that might make youngsters think it's safe after all they are taught about not posting personal details on the internet.'
School computers across Cheshire block access to Bebo and similar personal and chat sites, but headteachers remain concerned.
Christleton High School head, Tony Lamberton, said: 'We are unfamiliar with this particular site but are concerned that registration and use are unmonitored and may present a risk to young people in the area.
'We will be communicating with pupils and parents early in the new term and appreciate the efforts of The Chronicle in bringing this to the notice of the community.'
Andrew Firman, head at Queens Park High School, said: 'I will try and find out more about it because if things are being done in our name we want to know about it.
'We make sure our pupils understand the dangers of disclosing personal details on the web.'
A Cheshire County Council spokesman said: 'Essentially this is a parental issue because pupils cannot access social networking websites from school.
'However we are aware a number of heads across the county have voiced their concerns to parents about the danger of posting information on such sites.
'We're also aware that parents have reported the issue to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in London.'
The spokesman added he believed the site had also been reported to the Virtual Global Taskforce, a body made up of police forces across the world working to fight online child abuse.
A Bebo spokeswoman said: 'Bebo is actively involved in augmenting its safety features, implementing sophisticated technology and delivering appropriate education to end users.
'We are constantly evolving our systems and practices, collaborating with experts in a variety of fields and we will continue to do so to maintain Bebo as a safe online environment.
'The appointment of Dr Rachel O'Connell, considered to be one of Europe's foremost experts in internet safety, and the powers vested in her, further demonstrates our serious commitment to addressing these concerns and to being a leader in safety.
'It is our intention to make Bebo one of the most hostile environments for users with ill-intent.
'We believe education, monitoring and robust reporting structures are the keys to keeping young people safe online.'
Research suggests up to 61% of British 13 to 17-year-olds have personal pages on networking sites -with many of their parents remaining ignorant of what they are doing.
Police claim more than 50,000 potential sexual predators are scouring the internet at any moment in time.