FIVE Burton men have been jailed for a total of 23 years after being found guilty of committing child exploitation offences.
The men were found guilty after a two-week trial at Stafford Crown Court following a lengthy investigation by Staffordshire Police's Child Exploitation Team concerning activity that took place in the Burton area between October 2012 and May 2013 involving the same victim – aged between 13 and 15.
Chief Inspector Steve Maskrey, commander of the East Staffordshire local policing team, branded the crimes 'despicable'.
He said: "We welcome the sentences handed out, which reflect the despicable crimes committed by these individuals.
"While this sees the conclusion of the criminal justice process, we recognise that the victim will be affected for the rest of her life.
"We commend her absolute bravery and our role is to work with partners to offer her continued support.
"The protection and care of vulnerable young people in Staffordshire is of utmost importance to us and something every officer working in the community seeks to ensure.
"This case has men brought to justice, men who acted in a predatory way and sought out a vulnerable young girl to abuse her. Their actions are inexcusable and the fact they show no remorse only highlights the sinister individuals we're dealing with.
Umber Farrouq, 21, of Belvedere Road, Burton, Anees Hanif, 20, of Norfolk Road, Stapenhill and Matab Ali, 21, of Gordon Street, Burton, were all convicted of two counts of sexual activity with a girl aged 13 to 15.
They all received five-and-a-half-years.
Junaid Ali, 20, of Shobnall Street, Burton, was jailed for five-and-a-half-years after he was found guilty of the attempted rape of a girl aged 13 to 15.
Farrouq and Matab Ali were sent to jail and Hanif, Junaid Ali and Arshad sent to youth custody.
Ameer Arshad, 19, of Waterloo Street, Burton, was found guilty of blackmail and jailed for 12 months. He was acquitted of inciting the girl to engage in sexual activity.
Farrouq, Hanif, Matab and Junaid Ali have all been put on the Sex Offenders' Register indefinitely. A sixth suspect, a 17-year-old male from Burton, received a conditional youth caution for inciting sexual activity with the girl and was referred to the youth offending team.