Detectives have this morning (Wednesday) arrested five men in connection with an investigation into historical child sexual abuse.
The men were arrested at addresses in Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley on suspicion of sexual offences.
A 36-year-old man from Accrington; a 38-year-old man from Accrington; a 45-year-old man from Burnley; and a 57-year-old man from Burnley have all been arrested on suspicion of rape. A 57-year-old man from Blackburn has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault.
The home addresses of the men are being searched as part of the inquiry.
The investigation is into historic allegations of sexual abuse dating back to the late 1990s and early 2000s and relates to offences allegedly committed in the Blackburn and Accrington areas and involving one female victim aged between 12 and 17 at the time.
Detective Chief Inspector Claire McEnery, of Lancashire Constabulary’s Public Protection Unit, said: “I want to stress we are still at the relatively early stages of our investigation and have been working very closely with the victim for a number of months since these matters came to our attention.
“Today’s arrests are just the latest phase of this inquiry and further arrests are likely to be made in the near future.
“Child sexual exploitation is one of the constabulary’s top priorities and the team working on this inquiry is a specialist team set up specifically to investigate allegations of historical sexual abuse and includes officers from the Public Protection Division, who are experts in dealing with vulnerable victims and working with partner agencies.
“We take all allegations of sexual abuse extremely seriously and we would encourage people with any information about the sexual abuse of children, or anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse to come forward and report their concerns confident in the knowledge it will be investigated appropriately and with sensitivity.”