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Arrest sparks fears over halfway houses

This member of the Guardian Angels group was involved with a sting operation which led to the arrest of a man in Fleetwood on suspicion of chilld sex offences.
This member of the Guardian Angels group was involved with a sting operation which led to the arrest of a man in Fleetwood on suspicion of chilld sex offences.

The arrest of an alleged child sex re-offender in Fleetwood after a sting operation by paedophile hunters has led to fears about halfway house accommodation in the town.

A group which calls itself The Guardian Angels brought in the police as they confronted the man after weeks of online contact with the suspect, using a decoy who pretended to be an under-age schoolgirl.

The man was arrested at a halfway house in Fleetwood where he was living after the group showed officers some of the correspondence between the suspect and the decoy.

He has since been charged with inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and remanded in custody.

But a Guardian Angels member from the town says there are now concerns about the kind of offenders placed in the town’s three halfway houses, where people released from prison adjust to life on the outside.

At a public meeting held at The Queens pub in the town, Guardian Angels members met port councillors to outline concerns.

The Angels member, who introduced himself at the meeting but does not want his name published, said: “We are not vigilantes, we stick to strict rules to catch these people - then let the police deal with them. My concern is about the kind of offenders in this type of accommodation in Fleetwood.”

Coun Terry Rogers said: “Myself and other Fleetwood councillors want urgent questions answering.”

A spokesman for the halfway house said: “We have worked in Fleetwood for 12 years, helping men to live crime-free and reintegrate into society.

“We take responsibility in the local community seriously and are meeting with local councillors to discuss concerns raised. We work closely with police and probation to ensure men we work with stay within the law and are dealt with swiftly when they don’t.”