LONDON (AFP) - Three men have been arrested in Britain as part of an investigation into the alleged sexual assault and false imprisonment of teenage girls at a private boarding school, police said Monday. Lancashire Police said the force had been alerted to concerns for the welfare of students at the Jamea al Kauthar Islamic school for girls in Lancaster, northwest England. A 40-year-old man and a 30-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of sexual assault and false imprisonment, while a 53-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment, police said in a statement. It said specialist female officers were carrying out searches at the school “with sensitivity”.

“We are working closely with the school and the local authorities to establish the circumstances around exactly what has taken place and we have specialist officers supporting the victims,” it added.

Jamea al Kauthar said on its website: “The school is aware of the allegations that have been made and at the present moment the school is fully co-operating with the police with their investigations into the matter.

“The school will publish a statement of any details it receives, once this has been received. We expect the matter to be cleared up soon.”

Around 400 students from around the world, of ages 11 and up, are currently enrolled at the selective school, according to its website.

Housed since its 1996 opening in a large campus that was once a Victorian hospital, it has been awarded the accolade “outstanding” by British government schools inspectors.