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School sexual assault claims probed
A view of CSI vans at the Jamea al Kauthar school in Lancaster, where specialist female police officers are conducting searches
Searches are continuing within the grounds of an Islamic school for girls as police investigate claims of sexual assault and false imprisonment.
Police were informed at the weekend of an alleged incident involving "a small number of teenage girls" at Jamea Al Kauthar school in Lancaster last Tuesday.
The report made on Saturday was said to have raised concerns over the welfare of the girls.
Detectives executed a search warrant of the premises on Sunday night and also arrested three men at the site.
A 40-year-old man from Bolton and a 30-year-old man from Blackburn are being interviewed on suspicion of sexual assault and false imprisonment. A 53-year-old man from Blackburn is being questioned on suspicion of false imprisonment.
Police would not comment on whether they were members of teaching staff but it is understood they are linked to the school.
Bosses at Jamea Al Kauthar said they were co-operating with what police labelled a "complex investigation" and added it anticipated the matter would be "cleared up soon".
Superintendent Andy Webster said officers were currently focused on the one alleged incident and they were trying to ascertain whether the report related to existing or former pupils of the school.
He said: "We are still at the very early stages of what is a complex investigation and we have dedicated officers working to establish the full facts.
"Our aim at this stage is to respond to the information given to us in a proportionate and sensitive way. We will seek to minimise the impact and the disruption to the school and our local communities while we investigate the allegation."