Updated: Saturday, 20th April 2019 @ 3:28pm

Rochdale child grooming ring: Three men jailed after Sunrise operation

Rochdale child grooming ring: Three men jailed after Sunrise operation

| By Tom Avery

Three men have been sentenced following a police operation into child sexual exploitation in Rochdale.

Bilal Ahmed (27), Dilon Rasul (24) and Hassan Ali (21), were all found guilty of various offences after being arrested and charged as part of a joint operation between Greater Manchester Police and Rochdale Council.

Ahmed, of Tentercroft, Oldham, was found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child and two counts of abduction. He was jailed for seven years, was made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and was made to sign the sex offenders register.

Rasul, of Worsley Street, Oldham, was found guilty of facilitating a child sex offence and sentenced to two years and was made to sign the sex offenders register.

Ali, of no fixed abode, was found guilty of one count of child abduction and was jailed for 12 months at a previous hearing.

A fourth man, Jubair Rahman, 23, of Waterman View, Rochdale, pleaded guilty to one count of child abduction at an earlier hearing will be sentenced on Monday.

In September 2014, the Sunrise team, a joint operation between Greater Manchester Police and Rochdale Borough Council to tackle child sexual exploitation, were investigating why three children were repeatedly going missing from care.

The children had been moved into independent care homes in Rochdale by local authorities from outside of the borough.

Officers spoke to one of the children and there was a suggestion the two girls, aged 13 and 15 and a boy aged 13 at the time, were being groomed between 16 September and 17 October 2014.

Operation Infrared was launched and arrests were made on Wednesday 26 November in the Oldham and Rochdale areas.

Police discovered Ali had started to speak to the boy in Rochdale town centre and remained in contact when he was introduced to the two girls.

Over the period of nearly a month, they were given alcohol, drugs and the girls were sexually exploited by Ahmed at addresses arranged by Rasul.

Rahman exploited the two girls in his own right and took them to a bed and breakfast in Rochdale.

Detective Constable Ben Harris said: “All four men befriended the children, who were extremely vulnerable, and were given drink and drugs. The offenders gained their trust before taking advantage of them to satisfy their own needs.

“Once we became aware there was a possibility they were being groomed, an investigation was launched immediately. Thanks to multi-agency work, the children were safeguarded and those responsible for causing this misery were caught and today brought to justice.”

Paul Marshall, Assistant Director, Children’s Social Care at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “We work very closely with private care providers in the borough to ensure that young people being cared-for by other local authorities are properly safeguarded.

“It is thanks to this strong relationship that police officers and social workers from the Sunrise Team were able to act quickly in order to protect the three teenagers and make sure these perpetrators face the consequences of their offenses.”

A special website, www.itsnotokay.co.uk, includes information for children, young people, parents, carers and professionals on how to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation and what to do about it.