Paedophile driven out of council home

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A convicted paedophile was yesterday driven out of the council accommodation where he was living, following a warning to schools by the local education authority.

The man was taken away from a bed-and-breakfast on the Raploch estate near Stirling, Central Scotland, after a protest by about 35 angry parents.

Police and council officials decided to move him because of concerns about his personal safety.

The case is the latest in the debate about whether convicted sex offenders should be allowed to live in the community and if so, whether parents should be told.

The demonstration followed a recent warning to 12 local schools by Stirling Council. It did not name the man, but he has been named locally as Alan Christie, 50, who was released from prison in October after being jailed for a year at Stirling Sheriff Court last April, when he admitted lewd and libidinous conduct towards a girl of four. The court heard it was not his first offence and there were fears he could re-offend.

A council spokesman said the man would be rehoused elsewhere: "He does not have anywhere to live and under homeless legislation we have to find him somewhere to live. Where he was is now intolerable," he said.

He added that the man could be taken to another part of Scotland.

"There is an arrangement with other local authorities for emergency situations where we have to move someone elsewhere quickly."

Mothers expressed relief that he had been been forced to leave the area. Lesley Marshall, 27, who has four young children said: "Families did not let their kids out on Thursday night when we found out he was here ... We're just absolutely relived he's gone".

The council defended its decision to advise local schools in December that a convicted paedophile was living in the area.

The education services director, Gordon Jeyes, said the council issued the alert as a "prudent" precaution.

The case comes two days after a council official in Birmingham faced disciplinary action for allegedly alerting mothers on a Birmingham council estate that a paedophile was moving into the area. Mike Wood, a housing officer for the city council, allegedly tipped off mothers on the estate in Garrett's Green that George Taylor, who had been jailed for indecent assault on a young girl, was moving into the area.

Yesterday housing chiefs in Birmingham were said to be considering banning known child sex offenders from the city's 97,000 council homes.

The local authority in Middlesbrough has also announced that it will formally exclude sex offenders from estates. And last November head teachers at a group of primary schools in South Wales wrote to parents warning about a paedophile who moved into the area. The teachers passed on details of the man's appearance, type of car and vehicle registration number after police tipped off the local education authority.

Last December, ministers announced that paedophiles and other sex offenders will have to register their addresses with the police and that they were also considering a system from the United States in which communities were informed when paedophiles moved into the district.