Police investigating a child abuse ring in Devon have arrested a man on suspicion of rape and sexually activity with a child, it emerged today.
The 22-year-old is alleged to have carried out the offences while living in the Torbay area, where officers are probing widespread ‘child exploitation’.
He is thought to have been arrested after attending a police station in Brierley Hill near Dudley in the West Midlands over an unrelated offence yesterday morning.
A team of detectives travelled up from Devon to quiz the man, who was yesterday being held in custody.
He was arrested on suspicion of raping two women and sexual activity with a child, all of which are alleged to have taken place while he was living in Torbay.
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Simon Snell, of Devon and Cornwall police, said: ”Police continue to interview a number of children in Torbay in connection with Operation Mansfield.
”We are still asking anyone with any information to please come forward and speak to us regarding child exploitation in the bay area.
”I need to reiterate to any families and children who have been affected to please come forward and speak to us – we are able to protect anyone who picks up the phone and talks to us.”
Police, working with partners in Torbay including the Children’s Safeguarding Board, Children’s Services, Health and Education have been working together to provide support to the victims throughout this enquiry.
Devon and Cornwall police launched Operation Mansfield last month after ‘dozens’ of victims of underage victims of sexual abuse came forward.
Officers sent letters to over 16,000 parents of schoolchildren in a bid to warn them not to panic over the investigation.
It is thought that as many as 50 children may have been groomed – possibly on social networking sites – over the past three years, with potential victims aged 12 to 15.
The alleged offences range from sexual assault to rape.
Jake Ormerod, 19, of Torbay, is currently being remanded in custody after he appeared at Exeter Crown Court charged with engaging or inciting a girl under 16 to engage in sexual activity, and sexual touching.