Operation Stovewood: 28 convictions secured and jail sentences totalling more than 250 years

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Just some of the men jailed as part of Operation Stovewood. (Top, left to right): Iqlaq Yousaf, Nabeel Kurshid and Asif Ali. (Bottom): Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, Salah Ahmed El-Hakam and Tanweer Hussain Ali. Credit: South Yorkshire Police

Operation Stovewood is the single largest law enforcement investigation into non-familial child sexual abuse in the UK.

NCA officers are investigating allegations of abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

So far more than 200 people have been arrested and 28 convictions secured, with those convicted handed jail sentences totalling more than 250 years.

A man from Rotherham who is already serving a 23-year jail term for raping and indecently assaulting teenage girls has been sentenced today after admitting further offences.

Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, 42, formerly of Godstone Road, was convicted in 2018 following an investigation by the National Crime Agency under Operation Stovewood.

He was found guilty of being a ringleader of a group who befriended girls before plying them with drugs and alcohol and then abusing them. A judge said Akhtar had purposefully “targeted and groomed” his victims.

Following his sentencing a further victim came forward, stating that she had also been raped and indecently assaulted by Akhtar between 2001 and 2003, starting when she was 13-years-old.

The NCA investigated and sought further charges against him. Akhtar eventually admitted two further counts of rape and two of indecent assault at a court hearing in October.

Today, Friday 24 May, a judge at Sheffield Crown Court gave him an additional 12 year sentence for the rape offences, and eight years for the indecent assaults, which will run concurrently to his initial jail term but will likely mean he remains in prison for longer before being considered for parole.

NCA Operations Manager Stuart Cobb said:

“The victim in this case showed immense bravery to come forward and tell her story after what was a harrowing ordeal at the hands of cruel and vindictive man.

“Akhtar treated his victims like his own possessions, supplying them with drugs and alcohol while they were abused.”

Operation Stovewood is the single largest law enforcement investigation into non-familial child sexual abuse in the UK.

NCA officers are investigating allegations of abuse in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013. So far more than 200 people have been arrested and 28 convictions secured, with those convicted handed jail sentences totalling more than 250 years.

Operation Stovewood has also prompted police forces across the length and breadth of England to launch their own investigations. They include: Operation Lakeland (Cornwall), Operation Span (Rochdale and Oldham), Operation Bullfinch (Oxford), Operation Brooke (Bristol), Operation Clover (South Yorkshire), and Operation Sanctuary (Newcastle).

Among those sentenced during Operation Stovewood are:

  • Mohammed Ahsan, 39, jailed for 18 years
  • Mohammed Imran Ali Akhtar, 42, jailed for 23 years
  • Asif Ali, 38, jailed for 10 years
  • Sajid Ali, 37, jailed for seven-and-a-half years
  • Tanweer Hussain Ali, 39, jailed for 14 years
  • Asghar Bostan, 52, jailed for nine years
  • Neil Cawton, 68, jailed for ten years
  • Tony Chapman, 48, jailed for 25 years
  • Salah Ahmed El-Hakam, 39, jailed for 15 years
  • Ann Marie Evans, 27, received a six-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, after admitting illegally identifying alleged sex abuse victims online.
  • Aftab Hussain, 49, jailed for 24 years
  • Sharaz Hussain, 39, jailed for four years
  • Darren Hyett, 60, jailed for nine years
  • Zaheer Iqbal, 40, jailed for seven-and-a-half years
  • Nabeel Kurshid, 40, jailed for 19 years
  • Riaz Makhmood, 39, jailed for six years and nine months
  • Masaued Malik, 39, jailed for five years
  • Abid Saddiq, 42, jailed for 20 years
  • Iqlaq Yousaf, 39, jailed for 20 years

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