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Northumbria Police launched a major investigation after receiving information from social workers and initially spoke to 108 potential victims.
Prosecutor John Elvidge told Newcastle Crown Court at the start of one of the trials: 'The prosecution say the case concerns the sexual exploitation of vulnerable young women and girls in Newcastle.'The events happened over a period of time between 20 and involved immature young women and teenage girls being exploited, say the prosecution, by a group of older men, using drugs and alcohol.'The prosecutor added: 'You will hear the girls were exposed to a party culture where young women such as these were lured to parties known as sessions by the offer of intoxicants, alcohol and drugs, which were made freely available to them to incite them to perform sexual services in return.'During this period of time this method of exploitation became well established in the West End of Newcastle particularly and provided a form of recreation for a group of men including these defendants, who were active in organising parties in the expectation the girls who came would be involved in sexual activity.'The prosecution say in this period these defendants and other men were party to a conspiracy to incite prostitution using drugs and alcohol at these sessions or parties in Newcastle.Northumbria Police deployed the man, who can be identified only as XY, to infiltrate the gangs who were hosting parties where underage girls were attacked and plied with drugs.The use of the informant was roundly criticised in court by defence teams who said it was 'misconduct' and 'bad faith' and claimed the proceedings should have been stopped to 'protect the integrity of the criminal justice system'.XY, who said he was paid up to £300 per month for his information, had claimed the investigation was a 'racist' operation by the police and said his handler used the phrase 'darkies'.The informant claimed he was instructed to plant drugs, hide the fact that an alleged rape complainant had told him she had lied, listen to privileged conversations between defendants and their lawyers at court and put under pressure to do nothing to help the defence.The girl was a frequent runaway who would regularly go missing.
Mr Elvidge said: 'The young women are now in their early 20s.
You will gather when they were involved with the defendants they were leading extraordinary lives.'The prosecution say it was their vulnerability that made it easier for them to be exploited and abused.
They were females who were relatively naive and vulnerable.'They were the victims of organised, well-practised cynical exploitation and were passed between abusers.' A chief constable has defended his decision to pay a convicted child rapist almost £10,000 to spy on parties where it was suspected under-age girls were fed drugs and sexually abused.
Four of the men - Mohammed Ali, Solful Islam, Yasser Hussain and Redwan Siddquee - have already been sent to prison for a total of 20 years and four months.
The wider operation has seen around 100 people convicted of a range of serious offences, including drugs, modern-day slavery and firearms charges, with jail terms totalling more than 300 years.
She spoke of how she would be picked up in a Mercedes from the children's home where she was living and taken to flats in Newcastle to be used by anyone who wanted her.