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03 April 2009

Crackdown on sexual grooming is widened across Lancashire

THE success of Operation Engage, a crackdown on sexual grooming of young girls in East Lancashire, has led to the scheme being rolled out elsewhere in the county.

The £250,000 project has been launched in Preston and police said three cases had been referred to them already.

As well as dealing with cases of sex exploitation the scheme will also try to give advice to people so they do not become victims.

Det Insp Steve Hobson said: “Similar units already exist in other parts of the county. It’s inconceivable child exploitation exists in other parts of the county and not in Preston.

“Some have been extremely significant cases and usually see older males exploiting young vulnerable females.

“The referrals we have had include two to three cases of children in care who have been groomed by older Asian males, taken out of the area and abused by other men.”

Operation Engage was launched in Blackburn, Darwen, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley in 2006.

A year later, following the success of Engage, officers in Pennine Division, which covers Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale, set up Operation Freedom.

POSTED BY / http://www.prestoncitizen.co.uk

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