A major campaign was launched today across West Yorkshire to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation.

‘Know the Signs’ highlights signs of the crime, particularly to parents and carers.

Hard-hitting radio adverts are being broadcast throughout the county, informing people of what to look out for and how to report suspicions.

A dedicated section of the West Yorkshire Police website has been created to offer information and advice surrounding the subject, at westyorkshire.police.

uk/cse, and posters and advice cards are being distributed by Neighbourhood Policing Teams.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, Ingrid Lee, said it was vital people understood the implications of the crime.

She said: “Child sexual exploitation is when someone under the age of 18 is groomed by an adult with the intention that they or another person sexually assaults or rapes them.

“Grooming takes place under many guises, in any community and on varying platforms. This can be at street level, in the home, in person, on the telephone or over the internet via chat-rooms or social networking sites.

“A common theme is that the perpetrators prey on the vulnerability of their victim. It often starts with apparent affection and kindness to build their confidence, with a view to committing a serious sexual offence.

“In a majority of the cases we find that the victims are young girls and the offenders are older men. However, young boys can be victims too and we must all be vigilant to identify the signs.”

Two men were convicted of drugging, raping and sexually abusing young girls after picking them up on Keighley streets and were jailed for a total of 36 years in March.

Shazad Rehman was sentenced to 18-and-a-half years and Bilal Hussain 17-and-a-half.

During the trial, the girls told how they got into a car with the men and were plied with cannabis spliffs and vodka and driven round the streets at night before being taken back to two hotels and a five-bedroom house. One 14-year-old girl said she felt ashamed, dirty and worthless after she was drugged and raped.

Both men were found guilty of multiple charges of supplying cannabis to underage girls. They were also convicted of conspiracy to intimidate a female witness.

Last month, a predatory paedophile who plied two young girls with drink and drugs so he could have sex with them was jailed for ten years. David Cameron targeted the vulnerable youngsters, aged 13 and 15, and “wormed his way into their confidence”.

Cameron, 48, of Bracken Bank Way in Keighley, was said to have put candles and rose petals in his bathroom in an attempt to seduce one of his victims.

Assistant Chief Constable Lee said the campaign was designed to highlight the signs to parents, carers, friends and family through various methods of communication.

“They contain clear and simple points which enable parents or carers to interpret the signs and report the crime,” she said.

“For instance, children spending an excessive amount of time online and being secretive about their activities is one of the points underlined within our messages. Having significantly older boyfriends, lots of new friends, going missing and skipping school are also some of the signs mentioned.

“In some cases, the victims do not realise that they are being exploited and part of our campaign is focused on the behaviour of the perpetrators. These men may display possessive, jealous and violent characteristics. Some use gifts, money, alcohol and drugs to influence and control their victims.

“If you have been subjected to child sexual exploitation, know somebody who has, or have information about those involved in this crime, please contact the non-emergency number 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."