Six released in Ballymena child rape probe

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Six people who were arrested in relation to a child rape and sexual exploitation investigation in the Ballymena area have been released.

Police said men aged 23, 27, 42 and 56 and a woman aged 48 have been released on bail, while a 19-year-old man has released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

All six had been arrested on Thursday morning.

In a statement, Det Ch Insp Deirdre Bones, said: “It is important to note that although these arrests all took place in the Ballymena area, the suspects are not all linked to each other.

“This is not about organised sexual abuse by a group of people. The arrests are part of a wider PSNI investigation focused on child sexual exploitation.”