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Telford abuse: MP 'inundated' with child grooming reports

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p06176sj - Telford abuse: MP 'inundated' with child grooming reports


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Media captionLucy Allan MP says ‘many young girls’ have come to her to share their experiences.

More victims of child grooming in Telford have been coming forward in the wake of reports about the scandal, an MP has said.

Conservative Lucy Allan said she has been “inundated” with reports since speaking about the issue in Parliament.

Police have previously disputed suggestions the issue is ongoing.

One local project working with young abuse victims said it had received 2,000 calls for assistance in the past two years.

The Sunday Mirror reported that up to 1,000 girls in the Shropshire town could have been victims of child sexual exploitation (CSE) since the 1980s.

Since her speech in Parliament, Ms Allan told the BBC she had been “inundated with e-mails saying ‘This has happened to me'”.

“I have also spoken to a consultant psychiatrist who has had many patients who have experienced this issue and are dealing with the mental health consequences of this terrible crime.

“It is clear this has been going on for many years and a significant number of girls have been affected.”

The Cate Project, which a council report said was overworked and under resourced, said that since April 2016, it has received 2,000 enquiries for assistance over CSE issues. The project team works directly with children abused through exploitation in Telford.

Nationwide children’s charity the NSPCC said it had delivered 3,122 counselling sessions about CSE via its Childline service in 2016/17 compared to 2,340 in 2015/16 – a 33 per cent increase.

Barnardo’s said it has been working in Shropshire since last October to provide counselling sessions to young people who are “at high risk of sexual exploitation”.

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A spokesman for Telford and Wrekin Council said it had not received any new reports of CSE

Chief executive Javed Khan said: “The scale of the abuse in Telford is deeply shocking and those responsible must be held accountable for any failings uncovered.

“Our specialist services see every day the damage caused by these horrific crimes.”

A spokesman for Telford and Wrekin Council said it had not received any new reports of CSE but said victims would be more likely to contact police before being referred to the authority.

West Mercia Police Supt Tom Harding who is in overall charge of policing in Telford, has said police and authorities in the town were working with “approximately 46 young people” who were victims of child sexual exploitation (CSE) or considered “at risk”.

He added: “Therefore, I significantly dispute the 1,000 plus figure and do feel it is sensationalised.

“Read the headlines, read the reports. What are they actually discussing? They’re discussing cases from 20 or 30 years ago, offending back in the 1990s.”

Operation Chalice

Seven men were jailed in 2012 as part of West Mercia Police’s Operation Chalice, including brothers Ahdel Ali and Mubarek Ali.

The force said more than 100 girls could have been targeted by the gang between 2007 and 2009.

Many of the seven men worked for or had connections with fast food restaurants across Telford.

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Police and Getty Images

Image caption

Seven men were jailed in 2012 as part of West Mercia Police’s Operation Chalice, including brothers Ahdel Ali and Mubarek Ali



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