12th March 2019

Reporting restrictions were lifted allowing news to emerge on 7 March 2019 of the collapse of an 8 week trial before Newcastle Crown Court which started in January 2019.

The trial arose from Northumbria Police’s Operation Optic.  Three trials were due to take place in total.  One woman and thirteen men denied charges against them of trafficking and raping young girls including one aged 12.

Northumbria Police failed to secure evidence properly or meet strict investigation guidelines.  As a result the prosecution decided not to proceed as there was no “reasonable prospect of conviction in each case”.

It is understood Northumbria Police Professional Standards Department will now investigate the Force’s failings.

If you are a survivor of the abuse alleged in the trial and you seek advice on pursuing matters against Northumbria Police as a result of the Police failings in the case please contact either Richard Hardy or Andrew Freckleton on 0191 275 2626 or email advice@benhoarebell.co.uk.