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SIX men from Burton have been arrested in police raids aimed at uncovering people involved with alleged sexual offences, grooming and blackmail against a young girl.

Officers swooped on seven addresses around the town yesterday morning, known to include one house in Shobnall Street, and picked up six men aged between 17 and 21. The other addresses have not been revealed.

Another man, aged 28 and from Pakistan, was arrested by officers from the UK Border Agency for immigration offences.

The raids were part of a coordinated operation involving local policing teams and the child exploitation unit from Staffordshire Police.

A total of 40 officers were involved in the raids, which police say followed a detailed investigation by detectives from the protecting vulnerable people department and representatives from Staffordshire County Council.

Following the raids, Chief Inspector Steve Maskrey, who is in charge of policing in East Staffordshire, said: “Our job is to safeguard the most vulnerable members of our community.

“Staffordshire Police is committed to targeting, disrupting and investigating suspected offenders to gather evidence against them and put them before the courts.”

“Early, multi-agency intervention is crucial in tackling child abuse and exploitation.

“Today’s enforcement operation has been made possible by the joined-up approach and cooperation between agencies.”

“It’s important that we work extremely closely with local authority and NHS colleagues to identify, assess and intervene to safeguard vulnerable children where they are potentially at risk.”

“Today’s arrests should send out a strong message to potential offenders – we’re determined to take action and bring perpetrators to justice.”

The men were questioned yesterday about their involvement in the crime.

Yesterday afternoon, police spent time talking to and reassuring people living in the neighbourhoods where the raids had taken place.

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