FORTY people, including some from Dewsbury, have been arrested by detectives investigating child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) said that the 38 men and two women were questioned after allegations were made by 13 victims about sexual abuse against them between 1997 and 2015.
The people arrested, as part of the ongoing Operation Stovewood investigation, are aged between 29 and 53 and are from Dewsbury, Leeds, Sheffield, Rotherham and Maidstone.
A spokeswoman for the NCA said the victims were aged between 11 and 26 at the time of the alleged offences.
The suspects have all been bailed or released pending further investigation.
Carl Vessey-Baitson, from the NCA, said: “Arresting such a large number of individuals, as part of one Stovewood sub-operation, shows that our desire to listen to victims and bring offenders to justice is not wavering.
“Stovewood is a challenging and complex investigation, with victims and survivors reliving abuse that took place many years ago.
“To date we have engaged with over 410 victims and survivors and have arrested or interviewed by appointment 94 suspects, meaning this is the largest law enforcement investigation into non-familial CSAE (child sexual abuse and exploitation) ever undertaken in the UK.
“Conducting such an investigation can only be achieved with the support and co-ordination of our partners and South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council continue to provide invaluable assistance.”