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Warders Questioned In UK's Biggest Abuse Probe

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By Martin Brunt, Crime Correspondent

Police are questioning former warders from a youth detention centre at the heart of Britain's biggest sex abuse investigation.

Sky News understands 22 retired staff, including an ex-governor, are being quizzed after detectives unearthed evidence of an organised paedophile ring targeting the young inmates.

Up to 100 former staff at Medomsley Detention Centre could eventually be questioned as part of the probe, it is thought.

More than 900 men have made accusations of rape, other sex attacks and violence during their time at the Medomsley Detention Centre near Consett, County Durham, in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

More than 900 men have made claims of abuse at Medomsley

Det Supt Paul Goundry said: "Many of those who have contacted us had never revealed to anyone else what had happened to them at Medomsley all those years ago.

"It has been a traumatic experience for some, and I appreciate their courage in coming forward and making that initial call."

The suspects are being questioned under caution after volunteering to meet police.

No arrests have been made so far.

The historical investigation was launched 15 months ago and 70 police officers are now involved.

It is not the first time the now-closed detention centre has been investigated over allegations of abuse.

In 2003 prison officer Neville Husband, also a church minister, was jailed for sex attacks on five young males.

His sentence was later increased after other victims came forward.

His colleague Leslie Johnson was jailed for similar offences in 2005. Both men are now dead.

At the time they were considered "bad apples", but since then hundreds more former inmates have made allegations before the launch of Operation Seabrook, now thought to the the UK's biggest such investigation.

Michael McCann MP, who was instrumental in prompting the new investigation, said: "The questioning of so many suspects demonstrates that the brave victims are being taken seriously.

"The scale of the abuse is absolutely shocking."

Some victims claim they were taken outside the centre to be abused, suggesting the suspected paedophile ring included other men not connected to Medomsley.

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