Police investigating the sexual abuse of children in Oxford have arrested three men after raiding a guest house used regularly by a paedophile ring operating in the city.
The swoop at the Nanford Guest House was part of Operation Bullfinch, which has already secured the convictions of seven gang members on trafficking and other sexual offence charges.
Sources named the three men as guest house owner Jeremiah Cronin, 81, and his sons Bartholomew, 49, and John, 48. The three were said to run the bed and breakfast, to which each of the six victims in the four-month Bullfinch trial were taken to be abused.
Police refused to confirm the names but a Thames Valley Police spokesman said that “men aged 81, 49 and 48, were arrested on suspicion of being a landlord letting a premises for use as a brothel, causing or inciting child prostitution for gain and encouraging / assisting in an offence believing it will be committed, namely rape and causing child prostitution.
“Officers executed the warrant under section 8 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act at the Nanford Guest House in Iffley Road”.
The spokesman added: “The warrant is in relation to information that came to light during the recent trial at the Old Bailey where evidence was heard that the guest house had been used to facilitate child sexual exploitation.”
Police also searched another property in nearby Sunningwell. Three nearby hotels in Oxford were also closed as Oxford City Council’s Environmental Health team carried out investigations.
A spokesman for the hotel said: “We have nothing to say when so much has already been said. We are innocent until proven guilty and have nothing more to add." The spokesman told the Oxford Mail: “We have a hotel to run and will continue to do that.”
All three men were bailed until 4 September and the guest house, once judged among Britain’s worst, was reportedly open for business again immediately after the arrests last Thursday.