Police have revealed that the arrests of 45 men came after a year-long investigation into the alleged sex abuse crimes across three towns in West Yorkshire. The men are alleged to have sexually abused four girls as young as thirteen over several years.
The men were arrested on Sunday and are believed to be involved in the biggest child sex abuse ring in the UK to date. Members of the gang are alleged to be white and Asian with most of the suspects in their 20’s but some are middle aged and up to their 60’s.
Some of the arrested men have been directly linked with each other while others are being described as ‘opportunistic’. One member is said to have groomed the four girls before having sex with one of them in front of his friends and passing her around to be abused.
Head of the West Yorkshire Homicide and Major Inquiry team, Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Brennan, told the Sunday Mirror:
“These are serious allegations which is why we have made a significant number of arrests to try and confirm or negate any criminality. Although 45 people have been arrested they are not all directly linked. There has been a series of incidents over several years and we will investigate each and every one of them. Some of the incidents involved a couple of people, while others involved more.”
All the alleged crimes are said to be at least two years old and the investigation, involving 30 police officers, is still ongoing and could result in further arrests being made. Currently the men have been bailed.
In June a high-profile case involved five men being jailed for life for their involvement in a child sex gang. Child sex gangs have also been caught in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, Cambridgeshire and Rotherham, South Yorkshire.
Jordans Lead Child Abuse Solicitor, Lisa Jackson, said: “As a West Yorkshire law firm we are deeply concerned to hear that this could be the largest child sex abuse ring in the UK to date. Any victim of child abuse should be able to contact child abuse solicitors in confidence no matter how long ago the abuse took place and should be helped to achieve justice.”