Report in Daily Mail, Wednesday, June 27, 1990 By-lined by Andrew Loudon PREACHERS HELD IN

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Report in Daily Mail, Wednesday, June 27, 1990 By-lined by Andrew Loudon PREACHERS HELD IN CHILD SEX SWOOP SEVENTEEN people were arrested yesterday by police investigating child sex abuse and devil worship. They included preachers, a teacher, an education authority offical and company directors. Married couples were among those held and at least eight children aged between six and 15 were taken into council care. Police refused to comment on claims that aborted foetuses had been used in satanic rituals but Detective Superintendent Albert Kirby, who led the Merseyside Police operation, said: "We may have to dig up gardens." The investigation began shortly before Christmas when allegations of child sex abuse came to light in Liverpool and neighbouring Knowsley. Children told social workers that their parents and other adults had committed sordid and degrading acts against them during satanic rites. The preachers allegedly involved with the pederasts belong to non-established churches and it was in their premises that much of the abuse is said to have place. The inquiry - codenamed Operation Clementine - was carried out at 7am by 97 police officers working with 15 social workers from the two local authorities. It led to simultaneous raids at homes in Kirkby and Cantril Farm in Knowsley and in Kensington and other inner-city areas of Liverpool. Mr Kirby said last night: "Throughout this operation there has been close co-operation between the police and social services to ensure that the interests of the children remain paramount." The NSPCC has been calling on child care profesionals to take youngsters more seriously when they complain of sexual abuse by satanic groups. Spokesman Pam Tinsley said: "Children tend to be disbelieved. But when we surveyed our 66 child protection teams this year, seven were investigating ritualistic abuse and 14 more suspected cults were involved in abuse." +ends JW+

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