Officers have said they are investigating almost 200 cases of child sex abuse in Keighley, prompting fears of a ‘new Rochdale’ grooming gang in the small Yorkshire town.
West Yorkshire Police are reportedly investigating 179 new sex crimes involving 165 suspects in the small mill town, described as the nation’s ‘capital’ of child grooming.
Situated just outside Bradford, Keighley has a population of 56,000, including more than 12,000 Muslims, and the town boasts eight mosques.
Last year 12 men were jailed for more than 140 years between them for the abuse of one 13-year-old girl in Keighley, who the gang repeatedly raped over a period of 13 months — on one occasion five men “lining up” and taking it in turns to abuse her.
A report into the case found the girl was known to police and services but let down, just as in the Rochdale scandal recently dramatised by the BBC.
Local MP, Conservative Kris Hopkins, has warned that the town is “top of the list” for ‘Asian’ grooming gangs targeting white children to be sexually abused.
“I am very well aware that there are numerous white paedophiles out there and they should be dealt with just as harshly,” he told the Telegraph and Argus after the Keighley gang were jailed.
“But the sick model of organised groups of Asian men grooming young white girls to be sexually abused remains a blight at the heart of many communities across this country.
“And sadly, Keighley is at the top of the list.”
Serious sexual abuse including the rape of vulnerable teenage girls took place in Rochdale between 2005 and 2013, with girls as young as 14 plied with vodka, threatened with violence and passed around men for sex.
In February, four members of the gang failed in their bid to appeal moves by the government to strip them of their British passports.
The UK’s most senior immigration judge, Mr Justice Bernard McCloskey, warned taxpayer-funded lawyers were using tactics of obstructing the courts and time wasting in their bid to help the child sex grooming gang escape attempts to deport them.