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Last Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008, 18:17 GMT
Raid children back with families
Police raid Slough property
The raids began before first light and into the morning
Nine Romanian children rescued after police raids against crime gangs have been reunited with their families in the UK.

Officials are now in contact with Romanian authorities to help one remaining child still in care.

Twenty-five adults were held after raids in Slough, Berkshire, by police investigating gangs who forced children into crime.

They were held on suspicion of offences including deception, fraud and theft.

Detectives are now investigating whether any of the children were involved in suspected crimes and whether they were taken from their families and illegally trafficked into the UK from Romania.

The news comes as authorities in Romania say they have identified 120 children and young people who were taken to Britain last year to beg or pick-pocket.

In a statement on Friday, Romanian police said they had arrested 150 adults and were investigating hundreds more.

A police officer takes away a child
Nine of the 10 children have been reunited with their families

They also said most of those involved were relatives of the children.

Earlier, a Metropolitan Police spokesman said many of the raided properties, in the Chalvey area of the town on Thursday, were "high occupancy" with large numbers of people inside.

The children, who ranged in age from a baby less than a year old to a 17-year-old youth, were cared for by Slough Borough Council.

A council spokesman said: "We addressed the level of care that they [the children] needed and are following the child protection guidelines."

'Crime networks'

Police suspect poor families in eastern Europe may be forced into allowing gangs to take their children into the UK to carry out offences such as pick-pocketing and thefts near cash machines.

The gangs are believed to have taken the children into central London to commit the crimes.

On Thursday, Commander Steve Allen, of the Metropolitan Police, said the operation was about "targeting those behind organised crime networks on the streets of London and the criminal exploitation of children".

He added: "With promises of a financial return, some poor families surrender their children who are subsequently forced to commit crime."



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Police raiding addresses in Slough



SEE ALSO
Police target child crime gangs
24 Jan 08 |  Berkshire

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