Police place serial sex offender under 24-hour surveillance

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The Independent Online

Police began the 24-hour surveillance of a serial sex offender yesterday that they want to ban from approaching any woman in Britain. The operation to monitor Steven Beech, 37, began as he was released from a Liverpool prison, where he was sent last month after his conviction for the latest of 115 sex offences.

Police began the 24-hour surveillance of a serial sex offender yesterday that they want to ban from approaching any woman in Britain. The operation to monitor Steven Beech, 37, began as he was released from a Liverpool prison, where he was sent last month after his conviction for the latest of 115 sex offences.

Merseyside Police sought its highly unusual restraining order on Mr Beech earlier this week but the magistrates' court hearing was adjourned until October for lack of time. Mr Beech is contesting the application and the hearing is expected to last four days.

The force would not detail its plans yesterday but they are understood to involve around-the clock monitoring by police and probation officers.

Mr Beech, who was deported from Australia 15 years ago, received his latest, two-month, conviction last month on a charge of affray, after he terrified two elderly women in Liverpool city centre. Last year, he completed an eight-year prison sentence for the rape of a priest's 70-year-old housekeeper but he has since been jailed in Doncaster.

Mr Beech left Walton Prison yesterday. It is uncertain where he will go, making the task of tracking him difficult.

The restraining order, which comes under the terms of the Government's recent Crime and Disorder Act, is the first that Merseyside Police has sought and, if breached, would bring a five-year jail term.

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