Gatwick Airport staff have received training to help spot potential female genital mutilation (FGM) victims as they travel out of the UK.

Police held a workshop yesterday to raise awareness of the procedure, also known as female cutting, which is mostly performed on young girls, predominantly from African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities.

Attendees included staff from the airlines and service providers at Gatwick, Boarder Force, British Transport Police, hotels and local government.

The hope is that by informing those working at the airport of the potential indicators, they can help safeguard potential victims.

Detective Inspector Andy Richardson said: "Although FGM has been illegal here in the UK for many years there are still some communities that encourage the practice and often young girls are removed from the country and taken elsewhere for the procedure to be performed.

"This is also illegal as law stipulates that no UK citizen can be taken out of the country for this purpose.

"Over 34 million passengers pass through Gatwick every year and it is crucial that staff working here understand the role they play in helping us to identify perpetrators and safeguard victims and potential victims."

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: "I am fully supportive of the work that is going on at Gatwick to improve the UK's domestic response to this barbaric practice."