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Sex gang driven by 'lust and greed'

A gang of nine Asian men who groomed white girls as young as 13 with drink and drugs have received jail sentences of between 19 and four years.

The men were convicted on Tuesday of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with children under the age of 16 and other offences.

Judge Gerald Clifton told them: "All of you treated (the victims) as though they were worthless and beyond any respect. One of the factors leading to that was the fact that they were not part of your community or religion. Some of you, when arrested, said it was triggered by race. That is nonsense. What triggered this prosecution was your lust and greed."

The Liverpool Crown Court hearing took place amid tight security with police standing guard in the courtroom and around the building amid fears of a large demonstration or disruption by far-right groups. In the event around 20 BNP members gathered outside the court building holding placards and shouting towards television crews and press photographers.

The man regarded as the ringleader, a 59-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons, was jailed for a total of 19 years for conspiracy, two counts of rape, aiding and abetting a rape, sexual assault and a count of trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation.

Takeaway worker Kabeer Hassan, 25, of Lacrosse Avenue, Oldham, was jailed for nine years for rape and three years, concurrently, for the conspiracy conviction. The 59-year-old ordered the first victim to have sex with Hassan as a birthday "treat". He raped the girl, then aged 15.

Taxi driver Abdul Aziz, 41, of Armstrong Hurst Close, Rochdale, was sentenced to nine years for conspiracy and nine years, concurrently, for trafficking for sexual exploitation. The married father-of-three took over from the 59-year-old as the main trafficker of victims and was paid by men to supply girls for sex.

Married father-of-five Abdul Rauf, 43, of Darley Road, Rochdale, was jailed for six years for conspiracy and six years, concurrently, for trafficking for sexual exploitation. Mohammed Sajid, 35, of Jepheys Street, Rochdale, was sentenced to 12 years for rape, six years for conspiracy, one year for trafficking and six years, all concurrent, for sexual activity with a child.

Adil Khan, 42, of Oswald Street, Rochdale, was sentenced to eight years for conspiracy and eight, concurrently, for trafficking. Mohammed Amin, 45, of Falinge Road, Rochdale, was sentenced to five years for conspiracy and 12 months, concurrently, for sexual assault.

Abdul Qayyum, 44, of Ramsay Street, Rochdale, was jailed for five years for conspiracy, and illegal immigrant Hamid Safi, 22, of no fixed address, was jailed for four years for conspiracy and one year, concurrently, for trafficking.