More arrests in Rotherham child sex abuse investigation

Further arrests have been made as part of the “unprecedented” ongoing investigation into the abuse of four girls in Rotherham, alleged to have taken place around 20 years ago.

Aug 21, 2020
By Paul Jacques

National Crime Agency (NCA) officers, working as part of Operation Stovewood, made the series of arrests in Rotherham this week.

Two men, aged 35 and 40, were arrested, and a man aged 35 was interviewed under caution, for offences relating to the abuse of girls in Rotherham who would have been between aged between 13 and 15 at the time.

All were questioned and released while investigations continue.

This follows the arrest of 14 men in Rotherham and two in West Yorkshire during July and August as part of the same investigation.

The arrests mean that more than 150 people have now been arrested as part of Operation Stovewood. Jail terms of almost 250 years have been handed down to the 20 people convicted so far.

Philip Marshall, senior investigating officer for Operation Stovewood, said: “This operational activity, working jointly with our local partners in Rotherham and across Yorkshire, demonstrates our ongoing commitment to supporting victims and ensuring offenders face justice as part of Operation Stovewood. We will continue to make arrests of further suspects in the future as our investigations develop.

“We appeal to anyone who has been a victim or witness to come forward and speak to us in confidence and with our full support.”

“We’re interested in speaking to anyone who might have information to help investigations into child sexual abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.”

The NCA said Operation Stovewood is “a unique and unprecedented investigation with hundreds of potential victims”.

It is the single largest law enforcement investigation into non-familial child sexual abuse in the UK.

Operation Stovewood began in 2014 when the NCA was asked by the chief constable of South Yorkshire Police to lead an independent investigation into allegations of abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

The request followed an independent review of the management of child sexual exploitation by agencies in South Yorkshire by Professor Alexis Jay.

Her initial report, published in August 2014, identified that at least 1,400 children had been sexually exploited in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013 and more than a third were previously known to services because of child protection and neglect.

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