Two men have been convicted of 24 charges of abusing teenage girls as young as 13 from the Stamford, Rutland and Peterborough area.
Yasir Ali, 28, of Grange Road, Peterborough and Daaim Ashraf, 19, of Almoners Lane, Peterborough, were convicted at Cambridge Crown Court today (Tuesday).
Ali was convicted of 15 charges comprising four rapes; seven charges of trafficking for sexual exploitation; two charges of making indecent images of children; engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and intimidation.
Ashraf was convicted of nine charges comprising: five counts of trafficking for sexual exploitation; sexual assault; sexual activity with a child; engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and intimidation.
Their victims, who cannot be named, came from Stamford, Rutland and Peterborough.
Ali was cleared of a further count of rape from 2008 while a third defendant, James Daly, 25, of Grange Road, Peterborough, was cleared of a single charge of rape.
The jury of seven women and five men had deliberated for 14 hours and 37 minutes before delivering their unanimous verdicts.
During the eight-week trial, the court heard Ali and Ashraf had abused eight girls who they had groomed after meeting them through social media. Six of the victims, the youngest of who was 13, were abused at a hotel in Peterborough in January and February last year. One of the girls was also raped in an alleyway in Stamford.
A further two victims were identified during the investigation and disclosed to having been raped in cars at Ferry Meadows in 2008 and 2010.
The charges were brought as part of Operation Erle – a joint proactive investigation between Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Peterborough City Council’s Children’s Services.
The girls were traced after being identified as being at risk of being exploited through an information trawl by police and Peterborough City Council in January, last year.
On the day the investigation was launched, police also received a referral from Rutland Social Care after a girl said she was raped at a Peterborough hotel.
That led detectives to the Day’s Inn hotel at Haddon. CCTV was seized and further victims were subsequently traced along with the offenders. Some of the footage can be seen in the above video.
The case follows a successful prosecution at the Old Bailey earlier this year where five men and teenage boys were convicted of a catalogue of sexual offences against underage girls. Four were jailed for a total of 54 years.
Ali and Ashraf will be sentenced at a later date.
Two other men who had been charged in connection with the offences were acquitted halfway through the trial.