BARROW’S MP has warned against ‘trial by social media’ and urged people to trust the judicial process.

Simon Fell said the best way to protect victims was for people to come forward and give evidence to the police.

He made the comments amid tension in Barrow over allegations of physical and sexual abuse of a teenage girl, shared in a harrowing post on Facebook.

Mr Fell said: “People are right to be concerned about what they’re reading and angry at the pictures they’ve seen.

“Knowing that our community has victims like these within it, and that the worst type of criminals may be at large, will make any normal person anxious.

“But the right way to fix this isn’t trial by social media.

“There’s a reason why the police gather evidence so diligently, and the court process tests it – to weed out rumour and speculation, and to focus on the facts so that justice may be done.

“The way our community can best help to protect the victims in this case and ensure that justice is done is to come forward with evidence and facts to the police.”

The former home secretary, Sajid Javid, is due to launch an inquiry into child sex abuse in Britain.

He said Britain was experiencing an ‘epidemic’ of sex crimes against children and the problem would get worse under lockdown.

Working in partnership with the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Mr Javid wants to expose the extent of child sex abuse and exploitation in the country and explore the general characteristics of the offenders and victims, together with recommendations for decisive action to turn the tide.

Mr Javid said: “The seriousness of this crime demands that difficult questions are asked. It is a source of great sadness and anger for me that in recent high-profile cases of group-based CSE, the men convicted have been disproportionately of Pakistani heritage. In weighing the significance of this, our investigation will not allow cultural or political sensitivities get in the way of understanding the problem, nor will it limit our understanding of who the perpetrators are and how this crime often goes undetected.

“We will follow the evidence, regardless of how uncomfortable the outcome.”

Simon Fell welcomed the inquiry, saying: “Sajid Javid is a heavyweight politician and I’m glad he’s returned to the subject in which he took a devoted interest as Home Secretary. Child sexual abuse and exploitation are the worst of all crimes, and the lockdown gives us pause to review the impact that it has on the victims, their families and society.”