VULNERABLE young girls have been targeted for sex by drug pushers at a homeless complex.

A key worker at The Forge, on Smithies Lane, which houses and supports young single people aged 16 to 24, said she's 'concerned' about the vulnerability of some of the residents.

The building, staffed 24 hours a day, is run by South Yorkshire Housing Association and has seven bedsits and ten self-contained flats for homeless young adults and those in priority need.

The woman, who does not want to be named, is employed to befriend the residents, sort out benefits and help with appointments.

She said police have been called out 15 times in the last eight weeks to attend incidents and believes some young people are being wrongly placed at The Forge and should be better assessed before being housed there.

"The majority of residents are easy targets for drug pushers and those looking for sex," she said.

"There are people coming here and bringing alcohol and drugs, and are targeting vulnerable young girls for sex."

DCI Mark Wilkie is not aware of young girls being targeted for sex but did say police are often called there for other matters.

"Whenever you get places like The Forge there will always be a higher than average number of police incidents because you get people reported missing from places like that," he said.

"Some people in there have got problems and a lot of it revolves around drugs.

"We do get called down there but a lot of the time it's because people are missing from home.

"When we do attend it's because of calls we have received from staff there."

DCI Wilkie said the police are in talks with The Forge's management to see how any problems can be alleviated.

"We're all singing from the same hymn sheet," he added. "We're all trying to improve the people down there and to protect them from harm."

A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire Housing Association said the safeguarding of vulnerable people is paramount to the organisation.

She said: "Our priority is to ensure the young people living in our accommodation are protected at all times, and any concerns about behaviour or activity that may be harmful to the people we work with, are taken very seriously and acted upon.

"Any evidence brought to light that indicates the safeguarding of young people is threatened in any way, will be dealt with swiftly and in partnership with our local contacts at Barnsley Council and South Yorkshire Police."