POLICE officers who have spent years trying to bring 'vile' sex predators to justice have welcomed the final convictions today.

Operation Silk was a complex investigation carried out by Thames Valley Police's Major Crime Unit, into child sexual exploitation in Oxford between 1998 and 2005.

In 2015, one of the victims confided with a social worker about how she was abused when she was a teenager.

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A police investigation launched and eventually suspects were brought before Oxford Crown Court.

In total, 13 men have been convicted for offences which have included rape, sexual assault and drug supply.

They have received a total of 186 years and three months’ imprisonment, with four life sentences.

Today, the final three men were convicted.


Senior investigating officer, Principal Investigator Mark Glover, said: "I would like to thank the victims, whose bravery, commitment and resilience throughout this entire traumatic process has been nothing short of extraordinary.

"The abuse to which they were subjected to by these men was horrendous and sadistic.

"They were targeted because they were vulnerable and groomed to the point where they did not believe that what was happening to them was wrong."

He said all victims had suffered long-lasting impact, adding: "They have had to live with the actions of these predatory offenders for the majority of their lives, and they have all been impacted in different ways.

"They will never be able to forget what happened to them all those years ago.

"However, I hope they all know what a crucial part they have played in bringing to justice the men who subjected them to such vile abuse for such a long time."

He said 'enormous' work had gone into securing the convictions, and he thanked police staff and legal counsels for 'bringing these men to justice'.

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Clare Tucker, a senior prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “These men plied vulnerable girls with drugs and alcohol and expected them to perform sexual acts in return.

"The depraved men told the teenagers this was normal and threatened the victims if they resisted.

"Working with Thames Valley Police, we built a strong case to prove this was sexual exploitation, where the victims had their freedom to make choices taken away, and were in no position to give consent to the sexual activity that took place."

She said it took 'enormous courage' for the victims to come forward.

She added: "Reliving experiences of this nature in court can be extremely distressing, but we hope that knowing these men are going to spend a significant number of years in jail will help the victims to move on with their lives."