Victim of Telford abuse scandal says she was raped by over 500 men

One of the victims said she was raped up to 10 times per day. (Getty) [file photo]

A victim of the Telford abuse scandal says she was raped by “more than 500 men” from the age of 11 onwards.

The woman, identified only as Jennifer, claimed authorities refused to help her when she told them about the abuse and even arrested her for prostitution several times between the ages of 16 and 19.

“I must have been raped by more than 500 men,” she told The Sunday Mirror.

"When I told the police, they told me I’d chosen my lifestyle. I asked to make a statement because I’d been raped and beaten by so many men and I wanted it to stop.

An inquiry was set up after the Sunday Mirror claimed more than 1,000 people had been abused in Telford. (Getty)

“An officer said, ‘You’re a common prostitute. Don’t you think that comes with the job?’ He said a jury would never believe I was a victim of abuse.

“I know it wasn’t my fault, but I feel guilty about girls who were abused.”

Jennifer said she ended up being abused by up to 10 men per night after she moved to the Shropshire town in the late 1980s.

The abuse only stopped when she fled to a relative’s home hundreds of miles away nearly a decade later.

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Jennifer was left with a criminal record after reportedly being convicted 52 times of various offences.

The Sunday Mirror reported last year that paedophiles in central England had abused up to 1,000 girls, some as young as 11, over a four-decade period.

Girls were reportedly lured from their families to be drugged, beaten and raped, the newspaper said.

Citing files from the local council in Telford, the newspaper said social services, teachers and mental health workers knew about the abuse but did not inform the police.

Superintendent Tom Harding of West Mercia Police, however, accused the Mirror of "sensationalist" reporting over the figures.

"I don't believe Telford has a discernible problem compared to other towns," he told the Shropshire Star.

"Child sexual exploitation will be taking place all over the country, and Telford is not different to anywhere else.

"I'm confident we understand the scale of the problem here, and we have got the resources here to deal with it."

Mr Harding said West Mercia Police had been working hard to tackle sex abuse with programmes like Operation Chalice, an undercover police investigation which led to the prosecution of seven men for sexual exploitation of children in the town.

West Mercia Police said it took the issue “extremely seriously” but the information provided by the Mirror was not new and resulted from a number of high-profile cases including Operation Chalice.

Following the Mirror’s allegations, an inquiry into reports of child sexual exploitation (CSE) by grooming gangs in Telford was opened.

It’s chairman, Tom Crowther QC, said in July this year the ongoing probe could last for more than 18 months.

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