Fears voiced over sex-crime offenders

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THE chairman of Galashiels Community Council has called for those on the sex offenders list to be classified, writes Kenny Paterson.

Bill White made his comments at the council’s April meeting after a national tabloid newspaper reported that there were 23 registered offenders in Galashiels area.

The figures from November last year showed the TD postcode had one of the highest concentrations of sex-crime offenders in Scotland, with criminals also housed in Hawick (20), Melrose (7), Selkirk (6), Jedburgh (6), Kelso (4), Duns (4), Coldstream (2), Eyemouth (2) and Gordon (1).

Mr White questioned whether Galashiels and other towns in the Borders were dumping grounds for paedophiles, as suggested by the Sunday newspaper.

He said: “I know of two cases where a drunk dropped his trousers in public and he was placed on the register.

“There is a case for grading them (offenders).

“We have lots of schools in the area, so we should know what type are on this register. There are a lot of questions to be asked.”

PC Bob Millar told community councillors: “Registered sex offenders range from an under-age teenager having sex with another under-16, or someone posting an obscene photograph by text or email.

“It is not necessarily a paedophile.”

Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont added: “If there is any suggestion that Hawick and other Border communities are being used as an easy dumping zone for sex offenders, that is a very serious concern.

“At the same time, we need to bear in mind that there is a varying degree of types of sex offenders, so some pose more danger than others.

“If parents are worried about anybody, it is important that they contact the police in the first instance.

“It’s up to the police to take further action, not up to people to act.”