More than 60 suspects now questioned as part of Operation Sanctuary

Operation Sanctuary was introduced by Northumbria Police in January after the force received reports expressing concern for a teenage girl

Police activity following the Operation Sanctuary raids
Police activity following the Operation Sanctuary raids

More than 60 people have been arrested since police launched an investigation into sex exploitation.

Operation Sanctuary was introduced by Northumbria Police in January after the force received reports expressing concern for a teenage girl.

It launched with a series of co-ordinated raids on the homes of suspects, who were questioned and released on bail and has continued with more people being brought in to be quizzed every week

Five further arrests were made this week bringing the total number of people to be questioned to 64, made up of 62 men and two women.

Eight people have been charged with various sexual offences and are now going through the court system.

Detectives have also identified around 80 women and girls who are victims or potential victims and are continuing to make contact with them.

It is thought a number of the victims were in local authority care at the time they were targeted.

Northumbria Police’s Deputy Chief Constable Steve Ashman said the public had been a great help in sharing information.

“The public continue to share important information with us and are being extremely vigilant and contacting us when they see situations they have concerns about or women and girls they feel are vulnerable,” he said. “This is key to how we will bring all offenders to justice and demonstrates how our communities share with us a determination not to tolerate this criminal behaviour.

“I would urge people to continue to do this as we want to hear about any concerns they have and to remember if a situation doesn’t look right or feel right they should trust their instincts and let us know.

“We are still speaking to all complainants, as potential victims or witnesses with specialist trained officers and departments to try and establish the circumstances of any incidents and whether or not they.”

Anyone with any information or concerns is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191. Advice and support is also available via Victim Support on 0845 277 0977.

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