SEVEN convicted child sex offenders from Lancashire have gone missing after failing to notify police of changes to their addresses.
They all disappeared after signing the sex offenders’ register – and some have even fled abroad.
A leading children’s charity has described the situation as ‘a serious cause for concern’.
Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request show that 138 offenders in the UK have been lost by police.
The Lancashire total is the second highest for any region outside London and Manchester.
Jon Brown, head of sexual abuse programmes at the NSPCC, said: “This is an extremely worrying situation as anyone who has committed a sex offence against a child must be considered an on-going risk.
“Keeping track of their movements has to be a priority for the authorities because we can’t gamble with the safety of vulnerable children.
“We really must have a system where no one with a record of this kind of offence can just vanish.
“It’s not acceptable and is a serious cause for concern.”
The figures do not specify which area of the county the lost offenders are from.
Det Supt Ian Critchley, from Lancashire police, said: “Sex offenders are rigorously managed in the community by police and partners, a system which aims to prevent them committing further offences.
“But if they do not comply with the obligations of their licence or notification requirements, then we will take action to locate them and put them back before the courts.
“We take the issue of wanted sex offenders very seriously, they are closely monitored and in the vast majority of cases we know where they are.
“I’d reassure people that enquires are on-going into the seven that are currently missing from Lancashire, many of whom we know to be abroad and we have been in contact with the relevant authorities to share information and pursue extradition proceedings where possible.”