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Last Updated: Monday, 28 January 2008, 17:33 GMT
Romanian parents help gang probe
A police officer takes away a child
Nine of the 10 children have been reunited with their families
Some of the Romanian parents of children rescued in raids against suspected crime gangs have flown to the UK to help the British authorities.

Ten children, including a baby under a year old, were taken into care after dawn police raids on houses in Slough, Berkshire, last Thursday.

Nine children have been reunited with their parents. One adult has been jailed and 14 others charged.

Meanwhile, the police commander who led the raids has defended his actions.

Metropolitan Police Commander Steve Allen said it was his duty to act.

The story would have been very different had I not acted
Steve Allen
Metropolitan Police Commander

Mr Allen told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I'm not able to see into the future. I didn't know exactly who and what we were going to find in those addresses.

"But I did act on the basis of sound intelligence. And I acted under my duty to ensure the welfare of children.

"The story would have been very different had I not acted - and had subsequently one of the children turned up dead.

"You would quite rightly be putting me on the spot and asking me questions about why I hadn't taken action."

Nicky Rayner, Slough Borough Council's assistant director for children and education services, said: "Parents of several of the children have flown in to the UK to work with us to ensure their well-being.

"Our main aim is to ensure the welfare of the children.

"Their situations are still being monitored and the police investigation is still ongoing."

Hundreds involved

A total of 24 Romanian nationals were arrested and 14 remain in custody.

Nine of them have been charged with immigration offences, three with theft of mobile phones and two with handling stolen mobile phones. One of them has also been charged with breaching a deportation order.

A 15th person pleaded guilty to theft of mobile phones and was sentenced to eight weeks in prison when the group appeared before Westminster Magistrates' Court on Friday.

Scotland Yard said six people had been bailed to return on various dates pending further inquiries.

A further three people were being questioned by Thames Valley Police in connection with the raids in the Chalvey area of the town.

Detectives are investigating whether the children were smuggled into the UK from Romania and then used to beg or pick-pocket on the streets of central London.

On Friday, authorities in Romania said they had identified 120 children and young people who they believe were taken to Britain last year.

Romanian police said they had arrested 150 adults and were investigating hundreds more.

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



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

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