Eight suspected members of sex abuse gang arrested in High Wycombe police raids

Thames Valley Police said the arrests came after a girl claimed to have been abused in the leafy Buckinghamshire town between 2007 and 2012

Eight suspected members of a sex abuse gang have been arrested in a series of police raids in High Wycombe.

Thames Valley Police said the arrests came after a girl claimed to have been abused in the leafy Buckinghamshire town between 2007 and 2012, adding they believe there may be additional victims who have not yet come forward.

The arrests, targeting people suspected of child sexual exploitation, saw the arrests of eight men - one aged 20, three aged 21, two aged 22, one aged 26 and one aged 28.

They were all held on suspicion of committing sexual offences against a girl.

Detective Chief Inspector Vince Grey said: “In terms of child exploitation, the general premise is there will be a number of victims.

”With this particular victim, she's mainly discussed actions involving herself, not going into any great details in terms of other persons, but we believe in terms of what she told us that there will be other victims.“

”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 on 01296 396396.

Mr Grey praised the girl, who is under 18, for having the courage to speak to police.

“She's been extremely brave and courageous in coming forward in the first place; obviously we can't imagine what she and other victims have gone through.

”She's come forward and she's indicated what offending has happened to her, who's been involved in that, and over what time period.“

The force believes that victims may have been groomed - when abusers make friends with potential victims - by members of the gang.

Mr Grey said: ”You enter the grooming stage first, obviously grooming is a specific offence. One stream can develop into where we are now, when that process has taken place and that turns into an abusive relationship of some sort, which can lead to much more damaging exploitation and sexual offences taking place.“

The suspects were identified from the girl's account along with additional investigation, Mr Grey said.

Mr Grey said: ”We will not tolerate child exploitation in Thames Valley and today's warrants are part of a lengthy investigation spanning many months.

“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 well-being in such cases.“

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