A man arrested as part of an inquiry into one of the world's largest music sharing web-sites has been released on police bail.

The 24-year-old IT worker was arrested at his flat in Middlesbrough during a dawn raid by Interpol and Cleveland Police yesterday (TUES).

Cleveland Police revealed this morning that the man has been released on bail pending forensic examination of seized computer equipment and further inquiries.

The Force also revealed the home of the man's parents in Cheadle have also been raided by Greater Manchester Police and computer equipment and documentation recovered.

Meanwhile, thousands of music lovers are now waiting to learn if police will go after them.

Detectives believe about 180,000 people were members of the invitation-only music sharing forum at www.oink.cd

the 24-year old was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and infringement of copyright law.

At the same time, Dutch police raided an office in Amsterdam, where they seized the site's servers and database details.

Forensic computer experts will now examine the servers, looking for information about users and the music they uploaded.

OiNK, which used a cartoon of a pink pig as its logo, was one of the world's biggest "peer-to-peer"

music download sites, which have been targeted by music publishers and police because they allow users to swap music for free.

According to users, OiNK had a data throughput of two terabytes every day - the equivalent of five million songs.

Having been invited to join, following registration members could download five gigabytes of music - approximately 1,000 songs.

They did not have to pay a fee, but could make donations to keep the operation running.

The site had a huge database of music. It even operated a request system and was also working on an internet radio station.

Fans could also buy a range of branded merchandise bearing the pink pig logo and the catchline: "Music so good it could make your tail curl".

OiNK became so big that music companies were appalled to find albums were being made available to members before they went on general release.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said more than 60 major album releases had been leaked so far this year.

Police declined to reveal details of the man they had arrested.

However, the domain name www.oink.me.uk, used by oink until it recently switched to www.oink.cd, is registered to a UK citizen called Alan Ellis.

Police said the 24-year-old man arrested yesterday worked for a multi-national company based on Teesside.

His father's home and that of his employer were also raided.

Yesterday's operation, carried out by Cleveland Police and Interpol, sent shockwaves through computer users worldwide.

The database had details of member downloads and the complex invitation system. But police may not need access to the database to track down users.

The raids were the culmination of a long-running investigation by police and the music industry.

Working with co-operative internet service providers, undercover officers who infiltrated the membership would have had plenty of time to harvest the details they needed for individual prosecutions.

But with 180,000 members across the world, police may decide the logistics of launching such an operation are too daunting.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: "It's too early to tell if we will go after individuals. It all depends on what we find. If the punters run into their thousands, interviewing them all will be clearly beyond our capacity.'' OiNK users expressed shock and concern last night.

One said: "I'm a little bit worried about them coming after the individual users."

Another added: "I'm terrified."

But many remained defiant, one saying: "I don't think it is quite the end. They backed up the site every day, and the admins knew full well it was a matter of not if they got raided, it was a matter of when."

Detective Sergeant Tony Keogh, of Cleveland Police, said: "The site specialised in sharing music and media including pre-release material.

"We have been working closely with Interpol and our Dutch colleagues in Amsterdam where the website server is based, to ensure that it too was secured at the time of arrest.'' Jeremy Banks, head of The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry Internet Anti-Piracy unit, said: "This was not a case of friends sharing music for pleasure.

"This was a worldwide network that got hold of music they did not own the rights to and posted it online."

Oink used software technology called BitTorrent to distribute music.

Chief Superintendent Mark Braithwaite, head of crime for Cleveland Police, said: "While some might view this type of act as a victimless crime, there is no such thing - as the cost of an enterprise such as this will be added to the cost of any legitimate purchases further down the line."