Police in West Yorkshire have arrested 45 men as part of an investigation into what is thought to be the biggest child sex grooming gang ever seen in the UK.
It comes after claims that four girls, some as young as 13, were abused by alleged paedophiles over a number of years.
The year-long probe by West Yorkshire Police, spanning three towns in the county, has been manned by 30 detectives and resulted in the largest number of arrests for any single child sex gang in the country so far.
Many of the suspects are in their 20s and a handful are middle aged men aged up to their 60s, though officers say they could arrest further suspects.
The young victims were first said to have been groomed by one man, making them believe they had a relationship.
Police believe he would then have sex with the victim in front of his friends, before passing her around for them to abuse her.
Some of the white and Asian men were directly linked to each other, while others were described as being “opportunistic” and just happened to be at a house when one of the girls was being abused and deciding to join in.
Detective Chief Superintendent Andy Brennan, head of the West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Inquiry team, said; “These are serious allegations, which is why we have made a significant number of arrests to try and confirm or negate any criminality.”
All the allegations are said to be “historic”, having taken place at least two years ago.