- A 16-year-old boy and seven men arrested in Rochdale and Oldham raids
- A seventh man, aged 20, was later arrested in connection with investigation
- Eight held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit sexual acts with a child
- Operation launched after three teenagers were going missing from home
- A girl suggested she was being groomed and the eight were arrested
- Raid follows crackdown on sexual exploitation in Rochdale after nine men were convicted of running a child sex ring, targeting vulnerable girls
Eight people have been arrested as part of an investigation into child sexual exploitation.
Six men and a 16-year-old boy were arrested in raids in Rochdale and Oldham this morning and are now being questioned on suspicion of conspiracy to commit sexual acts with a child. A seventh man was arrested later and is also being questioned.
The investigation was set up because police were trying to establish why teenagers aged between 13 and 15 in the area were going missing from home, when one suggested she was being groomed.
Eight people have been arrested in early raids in Rochdale (pictured) and Oldham and are being questioned by police on suspicion of conspiracy to commit sexual acts with a child, one of the eight is a 16-year-old boy
The operation was launched in the wake of the Rochdale child sex grooming gang scandal, where vulnerable girls were exploited by a gang of nine men who plied them with drink before passing them around for sex
. The case led to an increased awareness of sexual exploitation and the need to protect children from becoming victims in the area.
Early morning raids today led to arrests of the seven, who are aged between 16 and 47. The raids were led by Sunrise, a dedicated sexual exploitation police team in Rochdale.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Aston said: 'The Sunrise team were initially looking at reasons why the children - two girls aged 15 and 13 and a 13-year-old boy - were going missing from home. Officers spoke to one of the girls who suggested they were being groomed between 16 September and 17 October 2014.
'A swift investigation was launched and agencies worked together which has resulted in these arrests across the Rochdale and Oldham areas plus the safeguarding of three vulnerable children.'
Paul Marshall, assistant director for children's social care at Rochdale Council said the raids were part of work being done in the area to tackle child sexual exploitation.
He said: 'The success of Operation Infrared means that three vulnerable children are now safe and seven people have been arrested as part of this investigation.'
Last month police investigating sex grooming of children arrested 11 people suspected of abusing a group of seven school-aged girls.The suspects - nine men and two women aged 19 to 38 - were held on supsicion of offences including rape, and inciting a child into prostitution during raids on six properties.
This was also part of the wider campaign to tackle child sexual exploitation.
A report into the child sex ring in Rotherham and Oldham, run by the nine-strong gang and exposed last year, found the girls were let down by all 17 agencies that were meant to protect them.
The report criticised social workers, police and the Crown Prosecution Service for failing to work together to tackle the grooming which led to dozens of vulnerable girls being abused by the gang.