1. ITV Report

North Wales abuse probe uncovers 'significant' evidence

The former Bryn Estyn boys home in Wrexham, which closed down following allegations of child abuse. Photo: Malcolm Croft/PA Wire

A new inquiry into a historic paedophile ring in North Wales care homes has uncovered "significant" fresh evidence of "systematic and serious sexual and physical abuse".

Detectives from Operation Pallial, which was launched last November, have received 140 allegations relating to 18 care homes, including fresh claims by 76 new complainants.

The alleged offences, against boys and girls aged between seven and 19, are believed to have taken place between 1963 and 1992.

The report said a total of 84 individuals - 75 male and nine female - were named by complainants, and of those 16 have been named by more than one complainant.

Detective Superintendent Ian Mulcahey, the senior investigating officer, said, "These are serious allegations that will be thoroughly investigated".

"Many have provided graphic accounts of abuse, in some cases of very serious criminality", he continued. "I want to reassure the community we are taking their allegations seriously".

Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Ian Mulcahey. Credit: ITV News

North Wales Chief Constable Mark Polin, who asked the National Crime Agency (NCA) to run the investigation, warned offenders, "If you believe that the passage of time will reduce the resolve of Operation Pallial or any police force to identify people still alive who have caused harm to others and bring them to justice, you are are sorely mistaken".

"People who commit serious and sexual offences should live with the knowledge that we will always examine new information and evidence and seek to bring them to justice for their crimes", he added.

Peter Watt, the director of the NSPCC Helpline applauded today's update.

The NSPCC launched a campaign to remind people child abuse is not just a problem from the past. Credit: NSPCC/PA Wire

Mr Watt said, "This investigation is a major step forward into probing claims of widespread child abuse".

"Many who have been waiting decades for justice and for their voices to be heard have now finally found the courage to come forward and we mustn't fail them this time", Mr Watt continued.

The NSPCC is providing a dedicated round-the-clock helpline - 0800 389 6176 - which has already received 124 calls relating to this inquiry.