A Blackpool man has been arrested by police on suspicion of a historic sex offence.
The 67-year-old Blackpool has been arrested on suspicion of rape of a child.
The offence was allegedly committed in 2003 when the female victim was 14 years old.
The arrest has been made by the team of detectives investigating the disappearance of Charlene Downes in Blackpool 2003 and her subsequent murder, although there is no suggestion that this latest arrest is directly connected.
Detective Supt Andy Webster, the head of Public Protection at Lancashire Constabulary, said: “As part of our inquiries into the disappearance and murder of Charlene Downes we are also focussing on the wider issue of child sexual exploitation in Blackpool at around the time of her disappearance and we have identified a number of people who could potentially be victims and offenders and we will be seeking to make arrests and to prosecute abusers in the near future.
“I would appeal to anyone who may have been a victim of abuse to come forward and contact us.
“If you have been a victim of sexual abuse we are here to help and support you as well as to bring offenders to justice.”
The arrest comes at the end of Lancashire Constabulary’s Child Sexual Awareness Week
Charlene was just 14 years old when she was last seen in Blackpool on Saturday November 1st 2003.
Despite a lengthy and complex investigation, numerous media appeals and a £100,000 reward on offer for information leading to the conviction of her killer or killers or the recovery of her body, nobody has ever been brought to justice.
Earlier this month detectives investigating her disappearance and murder released footage of the teenager on the day she vanished.
The investigation is one of the constabulary’s largest and longest running inquiries and is examining both the disappearance and murder and the wider issue of child sexual exploitation in Blackpool.
So far the inquiry has generated more than 12,000 police actions or lines of inquiry and officers have taken more than 5,380 witness statements.
A £100,000 reward for information – put up by Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner – remains in place as detectives continue to probe the case.
In June detectives working on the Charlene Downes inquiry arrested two men on suspicion of historic sex offences.
Kashif Gul, 39, of Foxhall Road, Blackpool, is charged with rape, attempted rape, gross indecency with a child and indecency with a child.
A 50 year old man from Blackpool arrested on suspicion of indecent assault and taking indecent images of a child and was bailed but is now wanted after failing to answer his bail.
The above offences were allegedly committed in the early 2000s and relate to two girls aged 14 or 15 at the time. There is no suggestion of a direct link to Charlene.
Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers.org they can email: firstname.lastname@example.org