Tyne & Wear

Operation Sanctuary: Newcastle man charged with rape

A man has been charged with rape as part of a continuing police inquiry into the sexual abuse and grooming of vulnerable young women on Tyneside.

Abdul Jelilou Ouro Kefia, 21, of Duncan Street, Walker, was remanded in custody by Newcastle magistrates on Wednesday.

Northumbria Police said it received a report of a teenage girl being raped at an address in Newcastle on Monday.

It said 46 people had been arrested as part of Operation Sanctuary and some 80 vulnerable women and girls identified.

The operation concerns allegations of sexual assault involving teenage girls and young women - some in local authority care.

Mr Kefia is due to appear at Newcastle Crown Court in March.

Properties searched

Deputy Chief Constable Steve Ashman said: "When we first announced Operation Sanctuary, it was as a result of information that led us to search a series of properties in Newcastle, South Tyneside and Gateshead where we believed vulnerable girls and women had been sexually assaulted.

"Operation Sanctuary has expanded to embrace all crimes of a sexual nature on vulnerable female victims."

He added that there had been an increase in the number of victims coming forward.

Last month, a total of 27 properties were searched by police, with most in Newcastle but some in Gateshead and South Tyneside.

Northumbria Police said the alleged offenders were from "a range of communities".

Anyone with any information or concerns can contact police on 101.

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