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Nine arrested in child sex raids

Published 02/06/2015

Police vans before dawns raids in which eight men were arrested by police investigating child sexual exploitation offences against girls stretching back 16 years (Thames Valley Police/PA)
Police vans before dawns raids in which eight men were arrested by police investigating child sexual exploitation offences against girls stretching back 16 years (Thames Valley Police/PA)

Nine men have been arrested by police investigating child sexual exploitation offences against girls stretching back 16 years.

More than 100 officers took part in synchronised dawn raids at eight properties across Oxford at 6am, Thames Valley Police said.

Officers are investigating 60 offences in connection with the operation, codenamed Sabaton, on female victims in the city dating from 1999 to 2007.

Nine men - two aged 36 and others aged 29, 31, 33, 34, 37, 44 and 45 - were detained during the raids and are in police custody.

Police said the suspects were held on suspicion of offences including indecent assault, rape, sexual grooming, oral rape and sexual activity with a child.

Detective Superintendent Joe Kidman said: "This is a complex investigation into child sexual exploitation in Oxford undertaken by the Thames Valley Police major crime unit.

"A number of people have been arrested in connection with the offences which relate to female victims in Oxford between 1999 and 2007.

"We are working with our partners at Oxfordshire County Council to safeguard and support the victims, whose identities will be protected."

Police said five of the suspects were Pakistani and one was Bangladeshi. Another two were also Asian and one did not declare his ethnicity to officers.

Neighbourhood patrol teams have been deployed in the area to answer questions among local residents as police said tackling child exploitation was "an absolute priority".

Hannah Farncombe, head of safeguarding at Oxfordshire County Council, said six social workers have been working with police in connection with the operation.

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