Prison sentences for three men who abused a young girl in Rotherham have been welcomed by the town's council leaders.
Riaz Makhmood, aged 39, Sajid Ali, 38 and Zaheer Iqbal, 39, all from Masbrough, Rotherham, were jailed for over 21 years between them yesterday after being convicted of 15 counts of indecent assault against a girl who was 12 and 13 at the time.
Their victim, who is now in her thirties, went to South Yorkshire Police last year to report the men for plying her with alcohol and sexually assaulting her in car parks and behind shops in Masbrough during the mid 1990s.
Makhmood, of Falding Street, was sentenced to six years and nine months and Ali, of James Street and Iqbal, of St John's Avenue, were each jailed for seven and a half years.
They were arrested and the first to be prosecuted as part of Operation Stovewood, which is run by the National Crime Agency and investigates child abuse and sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.
Welcoming the guilty verdicts and prison sentences, Rotherham Council Leader, Councillor Chris Read, said: “I am very pleased for the victim that these perpetrators have been convicted and given the sentences they deserve for what is a truly despicable crime. This should give further confidence to victims and survivors that they are being listened to and taken seriously.
“This is a very positive start for Operation Stovewood, and it sends out a clear message once again that if you have committed these crimes here in Rotherham you will be caught and you will be dealt with, no matter how long ago the crimes took place. There is no hiding place for people like you and as a partnership we will do everything we can to find you.”
Since Operation Stovewood was launched in 2014, officers have made 28 arrests and charged 21 suspects.
There are 36 separate investigation underway, with 88 suspects identified so far.
Officers are in touch with 239 victims and the number is expected to increase.