Rochdale grooming: More child sex arrests

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Nine men have been arrested in a second sexual grooming inquiry in Rochdale.

The men aged between 24 and 38 have been questioned on suspicion of sexual activity with a child, police said.

The arrests are as a result of an inquiry into the sexual exploitation of a teenage girl since 2005. The men have been bailed pending further inquiries.

It follows the conviction of nine men from Rochdale and Oldham who were jailed for running a child sexual exploitation ring.

The men had targeted vulnerable girls as young as 13.

During the trial, five girls gave evidence, but police believe there may have been up to 47 victims.

'Damaged individuals'

Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, Peter Fahy, said he hoped more victims of sexual abuse would come forward after the men were sentenced.

But he said the vulnerability of the witnesses made it difficult to bring the cases to court, describing the girls as "damaged individuals".

Start Quote

We've seen inspiring bravery shown by victims in the recent trial”

End Quote Simon Danczuk Rochdale MP

Police said the latest arrests were not related to the case that concluded with the nine men being jailed from four to 19 years.

They had been found guilty of offences including rape and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child.

On sentencing at Liverpool Crown Court, Judge Gerald Clifton said the convicted men treated the girls "as though they were worthless and beyond respect".

All five girls who were witnesses in the gang's conviction were known to social services at some stage in their lives.

Rochdale Council has been tackling the problem of grooming by running an education programme warning schoolchildren of the dangers of child sexual exploitation.

So far, 10,000 high school students have taken part.

Commenting on the latest arrests, Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk said: "There have been some who've said this is a one-off case but I have consistently said I believe it to be a wider problem and that's why I am pleased to see the police acting swiftly.

"My message for anyone thinking of getting involved in this kind of activity is that you do so at your peril because the full force of the law will come down very hard on you.

"We've seen inspiring bravery shown by victims in the recent trial. I hope the heavy sentences imposed will encourage other victims to speak out because this crime is being taken very seriously and we need to send out the clearest message that this behaviour will not be tolerated in Rochdale or anywhere else."

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