THE number of alleged sex offences reported to Lancashire Police has increased by almost 12 per cent since Jimmy Savile was revealed as a predatory offender.

In the six months leading up to the ITV documentary about Savile in October 2012, 778 offences were reported. In the six months after the documentary, 879 were reported, an increase of 101 or 11.5 per cent.

Coun Tony Harrison, Burnley Council’s executive member for community services and a former police officer, said it was impossible to say whether the publicity surrounding Savile, coupled with a recent campaign urging victims of sexual abuse to come forward, was behind the rise.

He said: “It’s probably historical sex offences because people are not afraid of coming forward.

“That’s just my view and it’s impossible to say one way or the other for sure. The police will be able to find out if it’s a recent trend or historic.”

Coun Harrison urged victims to come forward and said: “It’s very important because the police need knowledge to investigate. People will be protected and I urge them to come forward.”

A specialist unit was set up to tackle the issue of sexual abuse in Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale.

Detective Chief Inspector Sion Hall runs Pennine Division’s Freedom Team, and said there were other victims to come forward.

He said: “We know there will be other victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and exploitation in the community, some who will now be in their 20s or 30s and have not yet spoken to the police.”

Victims of alleged sexual abuse remain anonymous.

Anyone concerned that a young person is being sexually exploited should contact police on 101.