Residents ‘kept in dark’ over paedophile neighbour

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Residents who discovered a convicted child sex offender had been living near a playground in their street for the past 15 months have accused social landlord Calico Housing of keeping them in the dark.

As revealed in the Express, the police and Calico were forced to move the man out of the area following a disturbance outside his flat in Malvern Avenue, Padiham.

Despite his removal, a large number of residents gathered outside the flat on Thursday evening to vent their anger over the situation.

One of them, mother-of-three Samantha Harter (26) lives in the flat opposite. She said: “We are angry at the lack of consultation with us from the police and Calico.

“Two police officers were present in the street on Thursday to talk to us but there has been no-one from Calico.

“It is a Calico estate and we are a very close-knit community. We feel they should have sent someone to reassure us and confirm this man will not be coming back.”

Police confirmed last week that the man, who was convicted in 2009, is no longer living in Lancashire.

Helen Thompson, Calico’s Director of Customer Services, said: “While the issue of public safety is a police matter, we understand there may still be some concerns from residents regarding the flat, where we are presently arranging for any belongings to be removed by a third party.

“Since last weekend we have had a staff presence on the estate every day, speaking to residents face-to-face, and we have also been in communication with the local councillor and formal residents’ association.

“We have responded to every inquiry we have received.

“Stonemoor Bottom is a successful neighbourhood, and residents tell us they are proud to live there.

“We are committed to working with the community to keep it that way and encourage anybody with concerns to contact us directly.”

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We would ask people to trust the police to manage sex offenders who live in the community. Where people act on rumour or speculation this can potentially have catastrophic consequences.”