Dozens of probes into child sex exploitation in Telford have collapsed – with NO convictions.
Over the past decade 37 investigations into child sex crimes involving more than one alleged attacker failed to bring anyone to justice.
The new figures sparked outrage just days after it emerged predator Ahdel Ali, 33, was released halfway through an 18-year jail term.
Victims – who gave police at least 267 names – fear some of the worst sexual offenders are still at large in the Shropshire town.
One, whose case collapsed after she gave police the names of 68 men, said: “It’s really wrong. These men are getting away with it and their abuse ruins lives.”
Many of her claims were backed up by diary entries but the Crown Prosecution Service said there was no realistic prospect of a conviction.
Another victim added: “The system is stacked against us. So many people report abuse but nothing happens and when perpetrators do get jailed they get out early. It’s a slap in the face. Sex offenders should be made to serve their full sentence.”
Ali and his brother Mubarek, 37 – caged for trafficking children – were nailed by Operation Chalice in 2012.
That investigation began in 2009, a decade after officers were warned of an abuse epidemic during a probe into the murder of Lucy Lowe, 16.
They were given 110 names but it is believed the total involved was 200.
Although 51 were arrested, just 13 were charged and seven convicted.
An eighth man was then jailed in a related investigation. West Mercia Police released data on 40 probes from 2009-19.
Nineteen people were charged in three cases – but the other 37 investigations drew a blank.
Police had 267 names – “witnesses, suspects and others”. But the tally is likely to be higher as the force could only give full data on five probes.
West Mercia’s Assistant Chief Con-stable Geoff Wessell said cases with “different probes over many years” were complex.
He added: “Unfortunately, some cases were unable to proceed due to insufficient evidence. In others, some men arrested will have been cleared of wrongdoing.”
The CPS said: “Child sexual abuse is abhorrent and where we are passed a file by police, and our legal tests are met, we will always charge.”