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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 12 December, 2018

Solicitor says child sexual exploitation allegations in UK town 'tip of the iceberg'

Nazir Afzal – who has overseen similar high profile cases in the UK – said he knew “more would come out”.

Image: Shutterstock/271 EAK MOTO

A UK LAWYER who led prosecutions against a child sex abuse ring in the town of Telford has said that he knew those cases were just the “tip of the iceberg”.

Nazir Afzal – who has overseen similar high profile cases in the UK – said he knew “more would come out”.

Afzal was speaking following an investigation in the UK Sunday Mirror into child sexual exploitation in the town which lies to the north west of Birmingham in Shropshire.

The Sunday Mirror said that the scale of the sexual exploitation made it the UK’s “worst-ever child grooming scandal”.

It said that abuse has been widespread in the town since the 1980s, when girls were targeted “by groups of mainly Asian men”.

It said there could have been up to 1,000 victims throughout the years.

The investigation has prompted calls for a fresh inquiry into child abuse and exploitation in Telford.

The BBC reports that Afzal led prosecutions concerning offences in Telford.

Speaking on the Victoria Derbyshire programme, Afaz said:

I prosecuted, when I led nationally, the Telford original issue, I knew then that this was a bigger issue not just in Telford but everywhere.

Police response 

West Merica Police released a statement today saying that tackling CSE (child sexual exploitation) “is, and has been for some time, the number one priority for police in Telford”.

“We have specialist officers and resources in place tackling this type of offending, and we are committed to using our resources and technology to pursue anyone who sexually offends against children – whether that offending took place today, last week or years ago,” said assistant chief constable Martin Evans.

He said that the issue of offending against children had risen in profile as a result of a number of high profile cases in recent years.

“We are aware of all the cases the Sunday Mirror newspaper has directly referenced. This information is not new to the police,” he said.

It is really important to me that anyone who feels they are a victim of such crimes, or that they know someone who is, can come forward – knowing they will be taken seriously and will be looked after, and that we will go wherever the evidence takes us to investigate these crimes.

A Telford MP earlier said that young girls were being “traded for sex in what is becoming a routine way”.

Conservative politician Lucy Allan has previously called for an inquiry into allegations of abuse at Telford.

A similar inquiry took place into widespread abuse and exploitation of children in the town of Rotherham.

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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