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Child grooming gang picked up young girls at McDonald’s

A grooming gang are feared to have used a McDonald’s to meet teenage girls for sex abuse.

Scotland Yard detectives are investigating claims four girls aged between 13 and 15 were raped after being picked up by the grooming ring around the fast food branch in Stratford, east London.

But it is thought there could be many more victims of the gang, possibly more than 30 girls.

Police are investigating a child abuse gang thought to have operated around this McDonald’s

It is thought younger boys may be being used as ‘hooks’ to meet schoolgirls, who are then abused by older men.

A Met Police spokesman said: ‘A safeguarding operation, Operation Grandbye, has been running since the beginning of November in response to increased issues relating to child sexual exploitation (CSE) in and around the Stratford Mall in Newham.

‘Groups of young girls have been seen congregating with older males.’

Police said they have referred some girls to social services over grooming fears.

‘Some girls felt they were in a relationship but others were there to either make money or do a job in relation to drugs,’ Detective Inspector Laura Hillier told The Independent.

A 34-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of rape and possession with intent to supply drugs.

Four others, a 16-year-old, two 15-year-olds and a 21-year-old – have been arrested on suspicion of other offences by officers working on the same operation.

A 21-year-old, Peter Maynard, was given a conditional discharge for possession of cannabis after he was arrested by officers working on the probe.

Police say victims thought they were in a relationship with one of the gang. File photo

Police say victims thought they were in a relationship with one of the gang. File photo

Police say a variety of methods will be used to tackle drug dealing and child sexual exploitation in the area against girls as young as 13.

In a press statement, Detective Inspector Laura Hillier added: ‘A common feature of child sexual exploitation is that the child or young person does not recognise the coercive nature of the relationship and do not see themselves as a victim of sexual exploitation.

‘As a result they are unlikely to report the abuse, meaning the issue remains seriously under reported.

‘It is therefore essential that not only police and partners, but also the wider community, are alert to the warning signs.

‘We all have a responsibility to keep our children and young people safe from harm and getting the local business sector on board will assist in the prevention, detection and safeguarding of those at risk.’


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