Five men have today been found guilty of paying for the sexual services of a child.
Mark Adaoui, Ijaz Ahmed, John Shaw, Anthony Lambert and Stefan Godfrey were all found guilty following a five-week trial at Derby Crown Court.
The court has heard how the men preyed on vulnerable teenage girls, picking them up on the street and paying them around £30 to have sex with them.
The jury was also told how the girls were taken to hotels in Derby and were given drugs by the men.
One of those convicted, 53-year-old John Shaw, was caught on CCTV checking into a hotel with two girls. One of them was carrying a teddy bear.
Today's convictions come after a lengthy investigation by Derbyshire Police which began in July 2010, when officers became concerned for the safety of teenage girls seen walking around Derby in the evenings.
They began gathering information about the girls and worked with Derby City Council as some of them were in care.
During this process, a 15-year-old came forward and told officers that five men had paid to have sex with her.
When detectives approached the girls seven said they wanted to take part in the prosecution. Five of them were victims and a further two were witnesses.
A total of 14 men were arrested as part of the investigation between July and November 2010.
Detective Superintendent Andy Stokes said:
– Detective Superintendent Andy Stokes, Derbyshire Police
“These convictions would not have been possible had the victims involved not been brave enough to come forward and speak to police and later give evidence in court."
“They were very vulnerable girls, some of whom came from unstable or difficult backgrounds. They were easy prey for these men, who made them feel important and safe, buying them presents to keep them on side. The girls at times felt flattered by the attention and were grateful for the gifts. But they gradually realised that what they were involved in was wrong, they were putting themselves at risk and that the men were exploiting them.”
Before today's convictions five other men, who formed part of the same police investigation, have already admitted sexual offences involving children.
Two have already received sentences and the remaining three men will be sentenced at a later date.
A government inquiry is now underway to tackle child sexual exploitation across the country.
Those working on it say the issue is complicated and difficult to investigate.
But they hope the outcome of the inquiry will help to prevent young people being targeted.