London ‘grooming gang’ exposed as police warn abuse happening across Britain

London ‘grooming gang’ exposed as police warn abuse happening across Britain:

Exclusive: Four teenage girls have so far reported being raped among 30 potential victims

Police believe they have exposed a new grooming gang in London as officers warn widespread abuse is taking place across the country.

Four girls between the age of 13 and 15 have reported being raped by a group based around a McDonald’s in Stratford, triggering a crackdown that has so far identified at least 30 potential victims.

Detectives believe the number will grow as they appeal for others to come forward, after arresting three boys and three men in Stratford.

Police are already arresting around 420 men every month over child sexual exploitation across England and Wales, and the numbers continue to grow.

Detective Inspector Laura Hillier, of the Metropolitan Police’s sexual exploitation team, said an operation codenamed Grandbye was launched after the four victims came forward separately in Newham.

“They had all been met by males at the McDonald’s on the Broadway in Stratford and been taken to different places where they were sexually assaulted,” she told The Independent.

“We think the scale of it is wider than initially thought – the number of victims could increase.”

Investigators say the Stratford Centre, which sits opposite Westfield and houses McDonald’s, is a “pick-up” point for grooming gang members seen congregating there with young girls.

They believe some are local to the area, but others have been drawn in from surrounding boroughs in northeast London by messages linked to criminal gangs offering gifts or money for drug running on social media.

“Some girls felt they were in a relationship but others were there to either make money or do a job in relation to drugs,” Ms Hillier said.

H/t reader kevin a.

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