Probe into alleged under-age sex abuse at care homes

Police are investigating claims that an under-age girl was groomed and sexually exploited by gangs of Asian men while living in two Lancashire care homes.

The historic allegations centre on care homes in East Lancashire where the alleged victim said she was targeted outside the addresses.

The woman, now in her 20s, said she was lured from the Lancashire County Council-run homes with alcohol, cigarettes and drugs in return for sexual favours.

It is understood the complainant has been interviewed by Lancashire Constabulary's child exploitation team, Engage, and detectives are looking at the possibility that more girls may be involved.

A police spokeswoman said: "Lancashire Constabulary has been made aware of a number of historic allegations and we are in the very early stages of investigating those complaints.

"We would always encourage victims to feel confident enough to speak out about abuse they may have suffered and would like to reassure people that we take cases such as this very seriously and they will be investigated with the utmost sensitivity."

Lancashire County Council said it was aware of the allegations but could not comment further because of the police inquiry.

The complainant, who is now a mother, outlined her claims in an anonymised interview with the Sunday Mirror.

She also told the newspaper of being drugged and then gang-raped in a field when she was living at a care home in Merseyside that has since closed. She alleged she told staff about the incident but the matter was not taken further.