Tyne & Wear

Rape and prostitution probe: 20 Tyneside men charged

Mid and south east Northumberland Magistrates' Court Image copyright Google
Image caption Nineteen of those charged appeared at court in Bedlington

A huge investigation into sexual crimes against women and girls as young as 13 has resulted in 20 men being charged.

More than 100 potential victims have been interviewed as part of Northumbria Police's Operation Sanctuary.

Nineteen men appeared at Mid and South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court.

The charges brought include rape, arranging child prostitution, sex trafficking, sexual assault, supplying class A drugs and false imprisonment, relating to 12 women and girls.

The other charged man is due to appear at court soon.

Operation Sanctuary was launched after two women approached police with a series of allegations.

Deputy Chief Constable Steve Ashman said the operation would continue.

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