Tyne & Wear

Operation Sanctuary: Rape plot police want to speak to more women

Police investigating allegations of sexual assault on Tyneside have said there are a further 30 females they want to speak to.

So far 27 people have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to rape and bailed as part of Operation Sanctuary.

Northumbria Police have not disclosed how many potential victims - teenagers and young women - they have identified.

Of the people they want to speak to the majority are women, but not all are thought to be victims.

The force said it believed some might hold vital information.

'Support available'

Since Monday, a total of 27 properties have been searched, with most in Newcastle but some in Gateshead and South Tyneside.

Northumbria Police said those alleged to be involved were from "a range of communities".

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Gary Calvert said: "The investigation is ongoing and we are receiving a lot of information.

"We have seen an increase in people ringing us and we are grateful for this and would emphasise that we need everyone's support.

"I would also appeal to anyone who may have been a victim of any sort of sexual assault to come forward to police, support is available and we are here to help."

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