Tyne & Wear

Tyneside child sex exploitation gang found guilty

Clockwise from top left: Soran Azizi, Ribas Asad, Palla Pour and Saman Obaid Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Clockwise from top left: Soran Azizi, Ribas Asad, Palla Pour and Saman Obaid

Four men have been convicted for their part in a gang which sexually exploited vulnerable girls as young as 13.

Ribas Asad, 29, from Newcastle, was convicted of sexual assault and sexual activity with a child.

Palla Pour, 25, from Longbenton, was found guilty of sexual activity with a child.

Soran Azizi, 28, from Newcastle, was convicted of sex trafficking. Saman Obaid, 29, from Newcastle, was found guilty of supplying drugs.

The prosecution said the girls had been "in thrall to and under the control of these, for the most part, older and more worldly-wise defendants".

'Repugnant stigma'

Newcastle Crown Court heard the offences were committed over a number of years from 2006 and were investigated as part of Northumbria Police's Operation Wren.

Det Supt Steve Barron said: "We want to ensure there is a repugnant stigma associated with sexual exploitation in all communities and, in particular, against individuals who think this treatment of women and girls is in any way acceptable."

Pour was also convicted of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, supplying drugs and allowing the supply of drugs on his premises.

Asad was also found guilty of supplying drugs and causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

He was cleared of paying for the sexual services of a child and conspiracy to facilitate or arrange the prostitution of a child.

Azizi was cleared of rape and sexual activity with a child.

Obaid was cleared of having sexual activity with a child, paying for the sexual services of a child and conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the prostitution of a child.

The four are due to be sentenced in October.

The convictions come six weeks after 17 men and one woman were convicted of plying girls with alcohol and drugs and forcing them to have sex.

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