Police praised for smashing Cornwall paedophile ring

James Machin, John Barrett, John Wrey James Machin (left), John Barrett (middle) and John Wrey (right) were jailed for abusing two girls

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A Home Office minister has praised police in Cornwall for smashing a paedophile ring.

Operation Lakeland, which lasted three years, resulted in the discovery of what police described as "horrific" abuse. One victim was five years old.

Minister James Brokenshire made his comments in the House of Commons in response to questions from Truro and Falmouth Conservative MP Sarah Newton.

He welcomed Lakeland's convictions and said he would meet officers involved.

'Learn from experience'

Mrs Newton asked the minister to meet with members of the Lakeland team to learn about how they were "so able to tackle the growing incidents of child sexual exploitation".

Mr Brokenshire thanked Mrs Newton "for highlighting the work on Operation Lakeland".

He said: "I would be very happy to meet with her and the detective inspector to learn from their experience."

The chief investigating officer of the Devon and Cornwall Police operation was Det Insp Simon Snell.

The force said the inquiry was one of the largest and most complex sex abuse investigations it had ever dealt with.

Three men were convicted of abusing two girls as a result of the investigation.

Two members of the ring - John Barrett, 49, from the Camborne area, and John Wrey, 55, from Hayle -were jailed in 2008.

A third abuser, James Machin, 54, from Falmouth, was jailed in November.

Devon and Cornwall Police said after the convictions that detectives had spoken to 30 victims of the ring and that there were real concerns there could be more.

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