AN investigation has been launched after a 15-year-old girl was apparently smuggled onto an Army base and then filmed having sex with soldiers.

North Yorkshire Police last night confirmed it had spoken to the teenager involved, and is working with the Royal Military Police's Special Investigation Branch to identify the men in the video.

Up to 17 soldiers feature in the film, which was taken on a mobile phone at Bourlon Barracks, Catterick Garrison, last week.

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It is believed the 15-year-old had been drinking before she was smuggled into the barracks.

Drunken soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment are thought to have pushed two campbeds together so some of them could have sex with her while others watched.

Because the girl is under-age, the soldiers could be charged with engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse.

The video of the incident was given to the Ministry of Defence by The People newspaper.

One soldier said: "This girl was surrounded by a group of baying men. They acted like animals. Some jumped on top of lockers to get a view.

"It was appalling. The men were pumped up with booze and testosterone

"They have dishonoured the Army and brought shame on their regiment. Their behaviour makes me sick."

The video footage shows semi-naked soldiers surrounding the girl while at least two men have sex with her. Others cheer them on.

Last night, North Yorkshire Police issued a statement.

Sergeant Dave Merritt said: "North Yorkshire Police has primacy in this matter and is conducting a full investigation.

"Officers have located and formally interviewed the 15-year-old female who is seen in the video footage.

"With the support of the Royal Military Police's Special Investigation Branch, efforts are also ongoing to identify everybody connected to the footage and those with information that could help our inquiries.

"At this time no arrests have been made."

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "North Yorkshire Police have launched an investigation and it would be inappropriate for the Ministry of Defence to comment further."

It is not the first time video footage shot by soldiers at Catterick has caused controversy.

In October 2006, a film emerged of a civilian taking a tank at Bourlon Barracks and driving it over a car. A 22-year-old man was later charged with taking the Warrior armoured vehicle without consent and was banned from driving for a year and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Last summer, three recruits were thrown out of the Parachute Regiment following a police investigation into claims a soldier was sexually assaulted at Catterick Garrison by comrades who filmed the incident.