Lancashire

Man and two teenagers held over child sexual grooming in Blackpool

westmorland Image copyright Google
Image caption Police investigating child sexual abuse raided a property in Westmorland Avenue, Blackpool

A man and two teenage boys have been arrested as part of an investigation into the organised sexual exploitation of children.

The 28-year-old man and two boys, aged 17 and 15, were arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault.

They were held following a series of dawn raids in Blackpool on Friday.

Lancashire Police said it was investigating the organised grooming and sexual abuse of a group of vulnerable young girls by older men.

The 28-year-old and the 15-year-old were arrested at an address on Westmorland Avenue. The 17-year-old was detained at an address on Clifton Drive. All three are in custody for questioning.

The issue of child sexual exploitation in Blackpool was highlighted by the case of Charlene Downes, 14, who disappeared near the town's North Pier on 1 November 2003, but has never been found.

Police believe she is one of a number of girls who were sexually exploited in the town.

Despite arrests, trials and the offer of a £100,000 reward, no-one has been convicted of Charlene's murder.

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