A series of trials at Newcastle Crown Court under the banners Operation Sanctuary and Operation Shelter ended this week and reporting restrictions have been lifted. Successful convictions were obtained for 93 offences of sexual exploitation against vulnerable females with some related drugs and other offences. These were the outcome of a complex series of Northumbria Police operations carried out over the past 3 and a half years into trafficking and sexual exploitation in Newcastle. Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC, singled out for praise 20 victims of sexual exploitation who gave evidence against these men as part of Operation Shelter:
‘My thanks and those of the people of Northumbria go out today to these brave women for the tremendous fortitude they showed in relating their often appalling experiences to the court and enduring cross examination in order to convict dangerous sex offenders. Some victims were as young as 14 years but others who were older were targeted because of other vulnerabilities. There should be praise too for the partnership working of Northumbria Police and Newcastle City Council. Both are learning organisations and will expect to benefit from the scrutiny of the serious case review which will follow.’
Read Dame Vera Baird QC’s full statement on Operation Sanctuary.