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Detectives in Devon and Cornwall have launched an investigation into allegations of historic sexual abuse in youth football.

DCP revealed it had joined the Metropolitan, Cheshire, Hampshire and Northumbria police as well as the Football Association in investigating allegations of historic abuse.

The force said it has received 'a number of complaints' in recent days from former youth players who say they were assaulted by adults within the game.

The scandal was sparked when former footballer Andy Woodward revealed he was abused by former coach Barry Bennell while a youth player at Crewe Alexandra.

Ex-Manchester City players Paul Stewart and David White are also among those who have revealed they also suffered abuse as part of the scandal, which involves fresh allegations against Bennell as well as others who were adults within the sport.

Bennell, now in his 60s, has three convictions for child abuse but is currently out of prison on parole. He was found unconscious and taken to hospital on Friday night in what police called a "fear of welfare" incident.

Launching a new investigation into claims of widespread abuse, GMP urged more victims to come forward and said complaints would be treated seriously, no matter when the the alleged incidents took place.

A DCP spokesman was unable to say how many complaints it had received at this time, or which football clubs they related to.

Detective Inspector Andrea Kingdon from the Public Protection Unit said: "Devon and Cornwall Police have been approached and we will be investigating.

"We would like to reassure any victim of any form of abuse that if you find the courage to come forward to us, that you will be believed and you will supported.

"Do not suffer the burden of abuse in silence, please reach out to us.

"If you wish to report abuse, please contact the police on 101, 101@dc.police.uk, you can also contact the NSPCC on 0800 023 2642 of via there website which can be found here."

Andy Woodward on the Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC, speaking about abuse he suffered at the hands of Barry Bennell
Andy Woodward on the Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC, speaking about abuse he suffered at the hands of Barry Bennell

Meanwhile in other parts of the country, the Metropolitan Police, Britain's biggest force, said it "has received information relating to non-recent sexual abuse in football clubs in London".

The clubs involved were not named.

Hampshire Police said its detectives are investigating non-recent child abuse "within the football community".

Northumbria Police said an allegation made by an unnamed former Newcastle United player was being investigated.

And Cheshire Police said it had received "a growing number of disclosures" and that allegations have been "made against more than one individual".

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