Community "profoundly saddened" by grooming and sexual exploitation of children and vulnerable adults in Newcastle

Operation Shelter is part of the wider Operation Sanctuary investigation by Northumbria Police into grooming and abuse Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Newcastle's West End is one of the most diverse parts of the North East; an area that people from dozens of different nationalities call home.

But among them were fathers, brothers, friends or neighbours who became abusers over a number of years - and the horrifying extent of their behaviour is now reverberating around the city's streets.

Dipu Ahad - a community organiser in the West End - is among more than 30 local representatives who have called for unity in response to the revelations:

Here is the full text of the community statement:

The statement is signed by the following individuals and and Newcastle organisations:

  • •Bishop Christine Hardman

  • •Lord Beecham

  • •Rabbi Aaron Lipsey

  • •Bishop Seamus

  • (Chair of Newcastle Council of Faiths)

  • •Hari Shukla CBE

  • (Vice Chair of Newcastle Council of Faiths)

  • •Shaykh Roziur Rahman

  • (Newcastle Council of Faiths)

  • •Deanna Van Der Velde

  • (Newcastle Council of Faiths)

  • •Brenda Dinsdale

  • (Newcastle Council of Faiths)

  • •Tony Wortman

  • (Newcastle Council of Faiths)

  • •Sihanouk Singh

  • (Newcastle Council of Faiths)

  • •Shaykh Abdul Basit

  • •Revd Gavin Wort

  • •Mufti AbdulMuheet

  • •Shama Sultana

  • (Alima- Female Islamic Scholar)

  • •Abu Tayeb Khairdeen

  • (Islamic Diversity Centre North East)

  • •Mahtab Miah(Chair of Newcastle Bangladeshi Association)

  • •Mofazzol Hussain Khan

  • (Chairman of Shahjalal Mosque, Newcastle)

  • •Amrit Paul Vedhera

  • (President of Hindu Temple, Newcastle)

  • •Abdul Goni

  • (Chairman of Newcastle Muslim Centre)

  • •Younes Mohammed

  • (President of Newcastle Central Mosque and Islamic Centre, Bilal Jamia Masjid

  • •Saleem Mohammed Afsar

  • (Secretary of Newcastle Central Mosque and Islamic Centre, Bilal Jamia Masjid)

  • •Mohammed Ahmed

  • (Chairman of Heaton Mosque)

  • •Mohammed Amin

  • (Secretary of Heaton Mosque)

  • •Mohammed Saddique Sajid

  • (Treasurer of Heaton Mosque)

  • •Ms C McCurley LLB

  • •Bill Corcoran

  • •Newcastle Unites

  • •Angelou Centre

  • •West End Women & Girls Centre

  • •Bahr Academy

  • •Islamic Diversity Centre(IDC) North East

  • •Newcastle Central Mosque(Grainger Park)

  • •Newcastle Central Mosque & Islamic Centre, Bilal Jamia Masjid

  • •Shahjalal Mosque, Newcastle

  • •Heaton Mosque, Newcastle

  • •Newcastle Muslim Centre(NMC)

Last autumn, far right groups marched in Newcastle, claiming that the crimes were being covered up. In fact, they could not be reported at the time, to avoid prejudicing other trials.

Several of the convicted men's family members gave evidence against them, during the trials that have been held as a result of Operation Shelter.

Now the extent of the offending and the suffering, over nearly 4 years, has become clear.

Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah says the victims must be supported:

Operation Shelter has put criminals behind bars, but their actions have cast a shadow over the city, and its West End community.

Northumbria Police are stressing that the wider investigation, Operation Sanctuary, will continue and are encouraging victims to come forward.