Pair accused of rape as part of sexual exploitation police probe appear in court

Two men have appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court today charged with rape as part of a sexual exploitation investigation.
Two men have appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court today charged with rape as part of a sexual exploitation investigation.

Two Wearside men have appeared in court charged with rape as part of a major sexual exploitation probe launched by police.

Darren Trott and Glen Barrass, both of Sunderland, appeared in the glass custody dock at South Tyneside's Court this morning charged with a string of sexual offences.

Trott, 32, of the Sheepfolds, is accused of two counts of rape and three counts of sexual assault.

28-year-old Barrass, of Tatham Street in the city, was charged with one count of rape and a further charge of sexual touching.

The offences are alleged to have taken place between the summer and October of last year.

The two defendants spoke only to confirm their names, ages and addresses during the hearing.

Magistrates were told the offences were allegedly carried out against three girls aged under 18 and two adult women.

No pleas were taken and all matters were sent to Newcastle Crown Court on June 14.

The two men were arrested as part of a wide-ranging Northumbria Police operation underway in Sunderland.

Officers from the force's Safeguarding Department have been carrying out Operation Neptune to investigate offences in the city.

Paul Anderson, prosecuting, urged magistrates to remand both men in custody until their crown court date.

Mr Anderson said; "This is very much part of an ongoing investigation.

"Police investigations have been ongoing for a number of months and will continue to do so.

"We are dealing with five complainants. Three are children and two are vulnerable adults."

No application for bail was made on behalf of Trott by his solicitor Chris Wilson.

Joanne Gatens, representing Barrass, asked that he be granted bail ahead of his crown court appearance.

Elaine McCulloch, chair of the magistrates, remanded both men in custody until their crown court hearing next month.