Police: Around 350 people have reported child sex abuse in football

Around 350 people have come forward to report child sexual abuse within football clubs, the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) has said.

The number comes from information supplied by UK police forces to Operation Hydrant, set up in 2014 to oversee investigations into historical child sex abuse concerning prominent people, and referrals from the NSPCC helpline.

The NPCC said police forces across the country had received a "significant" number of calls, both reporting further allegations and offering information.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the NPCC's lead for child protection, said the number of victims was "an indicative figure only," and that numbers could change with information still being collated.

He said: "We are working closely with the Football Association to ensure that the response to this significant and growing number of victims, at all levels of football, is co-ordinated effectively.

"We continue to encourage those who have been the victim of child sexual abuse to report it, regardless of how long ago the abuse may have taken place.

"We will listen and treat all reports sensitively and seriously. Anyone with any information regarding child sexual abuse is also urged to come forward.

"When allegations are reported, it enables police to assess whether there are current safeguarding risks and to ensure that appropriate action is taken to prevent children being abused today."

Allegations of abuse are being recorded and investigated local to the area where each allegation was made, the NPCC said.

A historical sex abuse scandal has rocked English football over the past month since several ex-footballers went public with accusations against Barry Bennell.

Bennell, a former youth coach at Manchester City and Crewe Alexandra who was given a four-year sentence in 1994 for raping a boy, was on Tuesday charged with eight offences of sexual assault.