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Video: Men arrested during 'child sexual exploitation' raids in High Wycombe
EIGHT men have been arrested this morning as part of a huge operation targeting alleged child sexual exploitation in High Wycombe.
About 100 officers raided ten properties during a series of coordinated dawn raids and arrested eight men aged between 20 and 28 on suspicion of committing various sexual offences against a girl.
But police say they “strongly suspect” there are other victims out there and are appealing for them, and any witnesses, to come forward.
Det Ch Insp Vince Grey, leading the investigation, said: “We will not tolerate child exploitation in Thames Valley and today’s warrants are part of a lengthy investigation spanning many months.
“We believe that it is likely that there are more victims who have not yet spoken to the police and would like to encourage anyone who is a victim to come forward and speak to us.
“I can offer the reassurance that we have support networks in place and will deal with each case with respect and confidentiality.
“Our number one priority is to protect the victims, both their identities and wellbeing in such cases.”
Police launched Operation Ribbon after an alleged victim of sexual abuse contacted police in December last year.
The abuse - described by officers as “the most serious kind” - allegedly began in 2007 when the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was 12 years old and continued until 2011.
Wycombe Area Commander, Supt Gilbert Houalla, said: “My team and I are fully committed to protecting the vulnerable and challenging the offender, especially when it involves this type of crime.
“I understand today’s events may be unsettling and likely to have an impact on residents and I regret any inconvenience caused.
“My neighbourhood policing teams will be carrying out reassurance patrols in the area and doing their best to answer your questions while still maintaining the integrity of the investigation.
“There are individuals who may seek to take advantage of the young and vulnerable. Working with our partners, it is our job to stop it and bring those responsible to justice.”
Call police via the 101 enquiry line, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or ChildLine on 0800 11 11 with any information about this investigation or if you are worried a child may be a victim of child exploitation.
Visit this website throughout the day for more on Operation Ribbon.