Nineteen men and one woman have been arrested on suspicion of perpetrating sexual offences against two underage girls in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
The suspects are alleged to have victimised two girls between 2014 and 2016 when they were aged between 14 and 15, according to the BBC.
The backgrounds of the suspects and victims have not been made available for publication, and the exact nature of the alleged offences — first reported in 2016 — have not been disclosed at this time.
“We have now arrested and bailed 19 men and a woman as part of an ongoing operation into the child sexual exploitation of two females in the Wakefield District,” confirmed Detective Chief Inspector Fran Naughton, who has been leading the investigation, an official statement issued by West Yorkshire Police.
“This large scale enquiry will be ongoing for some time and we will update residents when we can and it is legally appropriate to do so,” Naughton added.
“I fully appreciate the concern news of these arrests will cause in communities within the Wakefield area and can assure residents that the force is very experienced at managing investigations of this kind.
“Wakefield, just like other district’s in the force, has a dedicated team of experienced safeguarding officers who work to protect those at risk and conduct enquiries to identify and prosecute those seeking to cause harm.
“We work closely with partners in local authorities, charities and partner agencies to support victims, and are, of course, doing so in this case.
“As always, we continue to urge all victims of sexual abuse whether recent or historic, to report it to the police.
“We realise the trauma victims suffer as a result of these dreadful offences and can promise those who came forwards will be listened to and supported by trained, dedicated professionals who want to deliver justice for them.”
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