POLICE and social workers were last night accused of failing to investigate an Asian paedophile gang for fear of being perceived as racist, allowing them to prey on up to 50 young white girls.
The nine men from Rochdale were yesterday convicted of abusing five vulnerable teenagers after plying them with alcohol, food and small sums of money in return for sex.
However, the true number of victims, who were "passed around" by the gang, is likely to be nearer to 50, police have admitted.
Greater Manchester Police and the Crown Prosecution Service have now apologised after they failed to bring the case of the first victim -- Girl A -- to trial following her cry for help in August 2008.
One 13-year-old victim became pregnant and had the child aborted, while another was forced to have sex with 20 men in one night, Liverpool Crown Court heard.
Complaints to social workers and the police were ignored because they were "petrified of being called racist", former Labour MP for Keighley, Ann Cryer, said.
Mrs Cryer, who has campaigned to bring the issue of Asian sex gangs to light, said the girls had been "betrayed" and condemned to "untold misery" by the police and social services.
"This is an absolute scandal. They were petrified of being called racist and so reverted to the default of political correctness," she said.
"They had a greater fear of being perceived in that light than in dealing with the issues in front of them."
Girl A told police that she had been raped and provided DNA evidence from her attacker, however the CPS twice decided not to prosecute him.
The 15-year-old's abuse continued and at its height she was being driven to flats and houses to be raped by up to five men a night, four or five days a week. She was singled out because she was white, vulnerable and under-age.
Her ordeal only ended when her teachers forced social workers to intervene after she fell pregnant and they became concerned by the number of Asian men picking her up from school.
Girl A said that in a six-hour interview she gave police details about her abusers and where the attacks took place.
Crucially, too, she handed officers underwear that proved she had been raped by two men in a single attack. "I hoped they were going to do something and it would stop," she said.
"But it just carried on. It just started again with different men and more men this time, and that's when it started becoming up to five men a day."
It was only after social workers notice an upsurge in cases of child grooming that police made a series of arrests which led to yesterday's convictions.
Kabeer Hassan; Abdul Aziz; Abdul Rauf; Mohammed Sajid; Adil Khan; Abdul Qayyum; Mohammed Amin; Hamid Safi; and a 59-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons, were yesterday found guilty of running a child exploitation ring at Liverpool Crown Court.
Greater Manchester Police is now being investigated by the IPCC over the failings of its first investigation in 2008. (© Daily Telegraph, London)