EIGHTEEN men charged with a catalogue of sex offences against teenage girls have been found not guilty, it can now be revealed.

They were arrested in March and April last year as part of Operation Nautical, a police inquiry into child sexual exploitation.

After being charged with a number of sex offences, seven men were acquitted in December.

Then, last week, the Crown Prosecution Service dropped its cases against the others so they were found not guilty.

Legal restrictions placed on the trials meant no-one could report on them until now.

Shabir Dogar, 23, of Bertie Place, Oxford, Shabaz Khan, 24, of Cosin Close, Oxford, Joseph Suraina, 23, of Marlborough Close, Oxford, Shohab Dogar, 23, of Tawney Street, Oxford, Yasin Hamid, 20, of Moorbank, Oxford, Usman Idris, 23, of Northway, Headington, and Ajay Kumar-Lal, 22, of Cleveland Drive, Oxford, were all found not guilty in December following a trial at Oxford Crown Court.

The remaining 11 men were due to face trial this month - however, the CPS dropped its case as it did not feel there was a sufficient chance of conviction.

This meant Qamran Hafiz, 25, of Danesmoor, Banbury, Atiq Hussain, 24, of Avenue Road, Banbury, Tafail Mohammed, 24, of East Close, Banbury and Marcelo Suarez, 21, of Hillside Close, Banbury, Leon Cole, 20, of Alma Road, Banbury, Ahsan Raza, 20, of Churchill Road, Birmingham, Abdul Safraz, 32, of Deacon Way, Banbury, Nasser Younis, 38, of Sandford Green, Banbury, and Atique Akhtar, 24, Aamir Arfi, 24, and Waquas Hussain, 24, all three of no fixed abode, were then found not guilty.

The CPS insisted its decision to drop the case was not related to a failure in disclosure.

Spokesman Rob Singh said: “At a hearing on January 25 at Blackfriars Crown Court, London, prosecutors offered no evidence in the case, following a further review which concluded there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.

“This is not a disclosure failure. There was a proper and thorough approach to disclosure. This decision has been reached as part of the process of continuing review.”

Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Mick Saunders, said the force will review its investigation.

He said: “It was right that the case was brought to court so that a jury could hear and consider the evidence and the defendants could have an opportunity to answer to the case against them. Thames Valley Police respects the decision of the jury.

“Prosecutions are quite properly kept under review and Thames Valley Police accepts the decision of the CPS not to proceed with the second linked trial and to offer no evidence in respect of the defendants in that case.

“We will review the investigation, as we would in all such cases, to identify whether there is any learning for future investigations of child sexual exploitation.

“Thames Valley Police will always take all reports of sexual offences extremely seriously. Specialist officers will continue to work to support victims sensitively and to investigate offences thoroughly. We commend the courage of those who come forward to report abuse and will continue to endeavour to bring to justice those who are responsible for the crimes.”