POLICE applied to the courts to protect the identity of a paedophile in Blackpool.
The 58-year-old disabled man was made the subject of a 10-year sex offences prevention order after he was caught filming a two-year-old girl, despite having served a prison sentence for a serious sexual assault.
But Lancashire Police successfully applied for two anonymity orders claiming, due to the man’s disability, he would be particularly vulnerable if he became victim of a vigilante attack.
Officers submitted evidence to the court that the pervert was known to have befriended families with children.
He was found with a two-year-old and other adults at his home when visited by public protection officers from Blackpool Police. After the incident, social services obtained a commitment from the girl’s mother that she would not allow him to see the little girl again.
However, an officer later discovered the girl and the defendant alone in a yard where he was filming her with a hand-held recorder.
Child Protection officers felt the girl was in danger from him and knew he was having considerable contact with other children at the same time, one of them a boy of 15.
His mother was aware of the man’s convictions but felt her son was in no danger from him as she was a long-time friend.
The court submission from police said there was also another girl who was “in danger of serious sexual harm from him”.
The man’s lawyer Hugh Pond did not object to the order being granted.
But Lancashire Police defended the application saying it was for “the safety of everyone”.
A spokesman added: “Our priority is protecting the public from sex offenders, especially those who abuse children.
“We have been able to bring this offender to justice and also secure a Sexual Offences Prevention Order meaning he cannot come into contact with or work with children.
“When sex offenders are released into our communities we have to manage the risk and the potential consequences.
“Acts of retribution can force offenders to go to ground, meaning it becomes increasingly difficult for us to manage them.
“A decision on reporting restrictions is made on a case-by-case basis and given the exceptional circumstances surrounding this offender, for the safety of everyone, it was determined an application be made to the court to restrict the publication of his name and address.”