REAL-LIFE cases of child sexual exploitation in Lancashire are set to be brought to the stage in a series of educational plays to be performed for teenagers.

Byteback Theatre’s new production ‘’The Only One In The World’ will tour to 20 East Lancashire secondary schools and tells the story of one girl’s journey from being a ‘normal’ 15-year-old to being groomed and sexually exploited by an older man.

The aim of the production is to raise awareness of the issues for pupils and highlight the forms grooming can take and how this can lead to sexual abuse and exploitation.

Byteback Theatre teamed up with the police and Burnley Youth Theatre for the one-woman production, with funding from LANPAC and the Community Safety Partnerships.

Detective Inspector Mark Saunders said: “Children being aware of this type of issue is a key starting point in them being able to avoid becoming embroiled in this type of exploitation. However, reaching them in a meaningful and interesting way is often a difficult session to undertake. Basing the ‘lesson’ within a drama of this type will hopefully make it interesting for the students who are therefore much more likely to be engaged in the learning outcomes.”

After each of the school performances there is a post-show workshop where pupils can discuss the issues raised. Staff from the police and Operation Engage will also be present to provide further information.

Karen Metcalfe, artistic director at the youth theatre, said: “It is so important to bring issues like this to the forefront, especially to young people. The piece is very challenging and emotional but it’s a story that needs to be told so that young people and adults can be more aware and be safer.”

Police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: "I am committed to protecting young people here in Lancashire to stop them from falling victim to grooming and exploitation and any project which helps in this fight can only be a good thing.”

Anyone who has been a victim of sexual exploitation or is worried about a friend or family member can call the police on 01254 353525.