POLICE have welcomed sentences handed down to three rapists and say they hope they will encourage other victims to report offenders.
Three Hartlepool sex attackers were caged for a combined total of 20 years at Teesside Crown Court after they were each found guilty of sickening attacks.
Police have praised the bravery of the victims in each case who had to relive their ordeals by giving evidence at court.
And the force hopes the sentences will help other victims to have the courage to report their attackers.
James Pounder, 46, of Bruce Crescent, was jailed for seven years last Friday after he was found guilty of raping a woman after he invited her back to a flat for a drink.
He forced her to perform a sex act on him and then threatened her with a pitchfork afterwards if she told anyone.
The victim was found dishevelled in the street by several members of the public who called the police.
Also last Friday, Liam Boagey, 25, of Sheriff Street, was sent to prison for six years after a jury found him guilty of offences of rape, attempted rape, and actual bodily harm.
On Tuesday, Malcolm Mayes was sentenced to seven years for the rape of a young woman.
The 36-year-old of Silverbirch Road, denied the offence but was convicted by a jury after a trial last month.
A Cleveland Police spokesman said: “Firstly the victims in these cases must be commended for their bravery in coming forward and speaking about their ordeals.
“These sentences show that Cleveland Police and the courts take incidents such as these extremely seriously and we would urge other victims of similar crimes to come forward and speak to police.”
Cleveland Police can be contacted on the non-emergency number 101 or you can call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.