A warning has been issued by the judge in the rape trial of Nicholas Crawshaw to anyone who names any alleged victim.

Cheshire Police have also said anyone who identifies a complainant will be ‘arrested very quickly’.

Crawshaw, of West Street, Hoole, is accused of 16 sex offences, including 10 rapes, against seven victims between 2010 and 2015.

Judge Tina Landale said: “It must be made perfectly clear that any person who identifies any complainant will be dealt with most severely.

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“These witnesses are entitled to anonymity for life.”

Rumours surrounding the alleged offences at the time could mean some people are aware of parties involved in the case who have the right to anonymity.

Warrington Crown Court where the trial of Nicholas Crawshaw, of West Street, Hoole, is taking place

None of the complainants’ names, or any information leading to their identification, can be published.

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Simon Mills, prosecuting, said: “The police have told me it’s their intention to take swift and decisive action.

“Anyone who names a victim, they will find themselves being arrested very quickly.”

Judge Landale said she ‘fully endorsed’ what Mr Mills had said.

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Crawshaw denies all of the charges against him.

The trial at Warrington Crown Court continues.