Five men have been arrested by the National Crime Agency for offences relating to the alleged rape of a young girl.

The arrests, made as part of an investigation linked to the NCA’s Operation Stovewood, saw four men aged between 28 and 31 detained in Rotherham, and a fifth, aged 31, arrested in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire on Wednesday 10 February.

They were all held on suspicion of rape, questioned by NCA investigators and released on bail pending further enquiries.

The investigation relates an alleged rape in the Rotherham area in 2007, when the victim was just 12-years-old.

Philip Marshall, the NCA’s senior investigating officer for Operation Stovewood, said:

“The NCA now have more than 40 separate investigations as part of Operation Stovewood with more than 260 identified suspects.

“We continue to encourage all victims to come forward and speak to us in confidence. We, and our partners, will work with them to ensure that appropriate support is in place and I hope these latest arrests send out the message that we will take these allegations extremely seriously.

“Victims will be listened to and they will be supported throughout.”

Operation Stovewood is the single largest law enforcement investigation into non-familial child sexual abuse (CSA) in the UK.

Officers are investigating allegations of CSA in and around Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

Potential victims and witnesses can contact the Stovewood team.

11 February 2021