London: Nine men, eight of them of Pakistan origin and one from Afghanistan, have been jailed in the UK for periods upto 19 years for their role in a child sex ring which plied white young girls with drugs and alcohol so they could be abused.
All the convicted were found guilty of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with girls under the age of 16.
The case, which has raised tensions in some quarters between the majority white community and the Asians in north England, led to some Asian solicitors involved with the case to resign after they received threats.
Delivering the sentences at the Liverpool Crown Court, Judge Gerald Clifton said the convicts treated the girls "as though they were worthless and beyond respect".
He said: "One of the factors leading to that was the fact that they were not part of your community or religion. Some of you, when arrested, said it (the prosecution) was triggered by race. That is nonsense. What triggered this prosecution was your lust and greed."
The convicts plied five victims with drink and drugs and "passed them around" for sex by the men aged between 24 and 59.
The 59-year-old ringleader, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was also convicted of two rapes, aiding and abetting rape, sexual assault and trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
He was sentenced to 19 years in jail.
The judge called him an "unpleasant and hypocritical bully" who had ordered a 15-year-old girl to have sex with takeaway worker Kabeer Hassan as a birthday "treat".
Hassan, 25, was sentenced to nine years for rape and three years, concurrently, for the conspiracy conviction.
Taxi driver, Abdul Aziz, 41, also convicted of trafficking for sexual exploitation, received a nine year sentence.
Abdul Rauf, 43, also convicted of trafficking a child within the UK for sexual exploitation, received six years.
Adil Khan, 42, received eight years, while Mohammed Sajid, 35, was jailed for 12 years.
He will be deported back to Pakistan following the conclusion of his sentence.
Abdul Qayyum, 44, was jailed for five years.
Taxi driver Mohammed Amin, 45, received a five-year jail term, while Hamid Safi, 22, was sentenced to four years.
Safi sneaked into the UK on a lorry in 2008 and claimed asylum. He will be deported to Afghanistan at the end of his sentence.