Blackpool man among eight to appear in court accused of being part of Rochdale grooming gang

A Blackpool man has appeared in court accused of being part of a grooming gang who sexually abused girls as young as 12 in Rochdale.

By Sean Gleaves
Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 1:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 4:34 pm

Eight men were accused of “widespread sexual exploitation and abuse” of two girls aged between 12 and 16 between 2002 and 2006, Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard.

A total of 84 charges were made after Greater Manchester Police launched Operation Lytton – an investigation into non-recent child sexual exploitation.

One of the men who appeared in court was 36-year-old Martin Rhodes, of Dinmore Avenue, Blackpool.

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A Blackpool man has appeared in court accused of being part of a grooming gang in Rochdale. (Credit: Jaggery)

He was charged with six offences including rape and sexual activity with a child.

As the first defendant was brought into court, District Judge John McGarva told prosecuting lawyers: “I’m aware there is significant public interest in this case.

“I think it would be useful to give a nutshell account of what we are dealing with.”

Charlotte Rimmer, prosecuting, told the court: “We are dealing with a case, known in an over-arching manner as Operation Lytton, an investigation into allegations brought by two individuals, between 2002 and 2006, when these two females were aged between 12 and 16.

“These are allegations of widespread sexual exploitation and abuse, following grooming, by a number of defendants in the Rochdale area.”

Neither victim, as a complainant of sexual offences, can be publicly identified.

The accused were brought into court one by one, except one who appeared by videolink.

No pleas were formally entered and all were given conditional bail to appear at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, next month.

The other seven men were:

- Jahn Shahid Ghani, 49, of Whitworth Road, Rochdale – charged with 17 offences including rape, sexual activity with a child and causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

- Ali Razza Hussain Kasmi, 34, of Brotherod Hall Road, Rochdale – charged with six offences including rape, gross indecency and sexual activity with a child.

- Mohammed Iqbal, 66, of Gainsborough Drive, Rochdale – charged with two counts of paying for sexual services of a girl under the age of 18.

- Mohammed Ghani, 37, of Bamford Way, Rochdale – charged with 21 offences including rape, engaging in sexual activity with a child and gross indecency.

- Insar Hussain, 36, of Bishop Street, Rochdale – charged with 17 offences including rape, sexual activity with a child, gross indecency and trafficking persons within the UK for sexual exploitation.

- Ikhlaq Yousef, 37, of Stanley Street, Rochdale – charged with seven offences including rape, gross indecency and sexual activity with a child.

- Aftar Khan, 33, of Sparth Bottoms Road, Rochdale – charged with eight offences including rape, sexual activity with a child and gross indecency.

All are due back in court on May 25.