One of Britain's top female barristers today urged doctors to be "hyper-alert" to the risks of girls suffering female genital mutilation to help police bring a landmark first prosecution for the crime.

Rosina Cottage QC, who specialises in rape and abuse cases involving young and vulnerable victims, said medical professionals could play a key role in ensuring perpetrators are brought to justice by raising the alarm as soon as they see evidence that a girl has been harmed.

She said such information needed to be passed on "as soon as possible" so that travel documents, phone and email records which could used in court to support a prosecution could be gathered before it was too late.

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