POLICE are now investigating at least five former teachers in relation to historic sexual and physical abuse at top Hale Barns Catholic school, St Ambrose College.

The investigation has widened further, with more than 20 alleged victims and witnesses coming forward since allegations, which are said to have taken place between the early 1960s and the early 1980s, emerged last week.

As part of the investigation a 63-year-old Trafford man was arrested on suspicion of indecent assault and possession of indecent images.

The former teacher has been bailed until March 12, pending further enquiries into an incident which allegedly took place in the early 80s.

Officers from Trafford's Public Protection Investigation Unit (PPIU), assisted by the force's Public Protection Division, are investigating the new allegations and will be visiting all those who have contacted the police in the coming days.

No current staff at the all boys school are under investigation.

The reports relate to incidents which allegedly took place over a 30 year period, some of which are said to have occurred on school premises, while others did not.

Det Insp Jed Pidd, from Trafford's PPIU, said: "It is fair to say that the size of this investigation has grown given the response from members of the public.

“We have an awful lot of information to sift through, some of which is detail relevant to the investigation but where no offences have been disclosed, and some of which is information alleging offences similar to those already made and being investigated.

"Clearly, we will be visiting all those who have called us and providing whatever support we can.

"It is extremely important to once again emphasise that we are looking at historical incidents, the latest having occurred more than 20 years ago.

"While that in no way lessens the impact on the victims, it is pertinent in respect of safeguarding concerns current pupils and their families will undoubtedly have and I would like to stress that the welfare and safety of pupils is a top priority for GMP, the local authority and the school.

"We have had a significant response from former pupils but if anyone else has any information they want to pass to us or any offences they want to report but have not yet done so, I would urge you to contact us in absolute confidence and want to reassure you that we have specially trained officers on hand to assist you."

Anyone wishing to report information or come forward regarding the ongoing investigation is asked to use the following numbers: 0800 0920410 and 0207 158 0214.