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‘Vulnerable’ girls aged between 13 and 15 were plied with alcohol, drugs and cuddly toys in order to encourage them to have sex with men, a court heard.
Anthony Lambert, 51, Stefan Godfrey, 44, John Shaw, 54, Ijaz Ahmed, 35, and Mark Adaoui, 40, are accused of picking the youngsters up from streets in Derby and paying them up to £30 to perform sex acts.
It is claimed they targeted the three alleged victims, all of whom came from troubled backgrounds and been involved with social care.
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Prosecutor Mark Achurch told the jury at Derby Crown Court that the men ‘took advantage of young and vulnerable girls buying them gifts, giving them cigarettes, alcohol and sometimes drugs, to curry favour so that they could continue to pay them for sex’.
He said the men, all from Derbyshire, were not connected and had each acted alone.
Mr Achurch said: ‘They are young women who have come from difficult backgrounds and have been heavily involved with social care. They are by definition vulnerable. They have not had the sort of parental attention they deserve.’
Mr Achurch said they did not have much and ‘gifts of cigarettes, alcohol, mobile phones and clothes would be highly prized by them’.
He said it was not alleged that any of the men had induced or tempted the girls into selling themselves but ‘by treating them and flattering them, the defendants ensured they would carry on doing what they were doing’.
The jury was shown CCTV footage of Shaw booking one of the accusers and a friend into Jurys Inn hotel, Derby.
One of the teenagers is seen carrying a large cuddly toy, which the alleged victim told police he had bought them from Asda.
She told police she became involved in selling herself for sex when she was 13 or 14. She said she knew of about 10 girls who offered sexual services.
Police approached many of these girls as part of a major operation but they would not all co-operate and only three have ended up giving evidence as part of the trial.
One of the three girls told police: ‘The men just seemed like friends that were helping us out. They made me feel like I was important, like they bought me fags, they bought me food when I was homeless, they offered me round for drinks.
‘The whole sexual exploitation that went on... I got involved with the wrong kind of people.’
She said she needed the money and wanted the experience.
She said it had not seemed wrong but ‘felt kind or right in a twisted way’, adding that the girls would drink and use solvents to forget about it.
Lambert faces two counts of sexual activity with a girl aged 15 and one count of paying for sexual services of a girl. Godfrey is charged with two counts of rape and two counts of paying for sexual services.
Shaw faces six charges of paying for sexual services of a girl aged between 13 and 15.
Ahmed is accused of three counts of paying for sexual services with a girl aged 15.
Adaoui is accused of four counts of paying for sexual services with a girl aged between 13 and 15, supplying Class B drugs, and possession with intent to supply Class B drugs.
They all denied the charges when they appeared before a jury yesterday.
Shaw admitted taking one of the alleged victims and a friend to his farm but he denied any sexual activity with her.
Lambert let the same girl and another youngster watch a film at his house, while drinking alcohol and allegedly smoking cannabis.
Lambert admitted having sex with her but said he believed she was 18.
The trial continues.