Cheltenham abuse probe sees 16 children interviewed

image captionAbout 70 police officers from Gloucestershire Constabulary were involved in the operation on Thursday

Sixteen children have been spoken to by detectives and social care workers as part of an investigation into child sexual abuse, the BBC has learned.

About 70 police officers were involved in the operation on Thursday, which saw four addresses searched in Cheltenham.

Nobody was arrested and all of the children, of various ages, are now back with their families.

A "significant" inquiry into current and historical sexual abuse had been opened, Gloucestershire Police said.

Det Ch Insp Chris Hanson said several warrants were executed at a number of addresses simultaneously, and a "large amount" of "computers, phones, data devices and tablets" were recovered.

"They will be examined by specialist officers.... to establish if there are any indecent images or any other evidence relating to the sexual abuse of children," he said.

He added that specially trained police officers, along with colleagues from social services, spoke to the 16 children and arrangements were in place to monitor them at home.

Police said the operation was in response to "information received around non-recent and current sexual abuse against children".

A Gloucestershire County Council spokesperson said: "We can confirm that we supported a police operation yesterday and we continue to offer support and advice.

"Our primary concern is to look after vulnerable people who need our protection."

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