POLITICIANS remain silent despite 5 arrests and a restaurant having been served a closure order after it was granted by magistrates on grounds of suspected child sexual offences.
Babylon Restaurant and Shisha Lounge in Lincoln Road, Peterborough, was issued a temporary closure notice on Wednesday evening to close the premises for 48 hours under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
An application was made to Peterborough Magistrates’ Court for a full closure order to be granted, which was successful and was served on the premises by officers this afternoon.
The order states the premises will be closed for the next three months as there are ‘reasonable grounds for believing that in the past three months the premises were used for activities related to a specific child sex offence, or the premises are likely to be used for such activities.’
Superintendent Andy Gipp said: “Today’s closure has taken place as part of an ongoing investigation into serious sexual offences against two teenage girls over last weekend (11 and 12 January).
“Where we suspect such activity to have taken place, we will not tolerate it and will tackle it robustly in the community. We will continually investigate and identify such places and use this legislation to prevent further offences.”
Failure to comply with the order is a criminal offence which could result in imprisonment for up to three months, a fine, or both.
Two 18-year-old men, a 27-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy have all been arrested in connection with the investigation. All have been bailed to return to Thorpe Wood Police Station in February.
An 18-year-old man was arrested this morning and remains in police custody.
Peterborough has been blighted with grooming gangs in recent decades, with notable cases including the sophisticated operation of long-term rape of vulnerable children by a local gang led by 33-year-old Hassan Abdulla, and, in 2007, the sentencing of Peterborough-based pedophile restaurant owner Mohammed Khubaib for the grooming and rape of a 14-year-old girl.
Another venue in the city – a fast food restaurant – has been under suspicion for several months, and numerous allegations against taxi companies operating in Peterborough have arisen in recent years.
In a single year alone (2017) child grooming cases rose by over 400% in the Cambridgeshire city.