Parents warned over sex offender

Kelso parents worried about a convicted sex offender living in the town have been advised by police and councillors to “keep an eye” on him.

The advice was given to a small number of local mums who had turned up at Tuesday evening’s meeting of the town’s community council to voice their worries about the issue.

Last week The Southern reported the growing disquiet in Kelso that the man, believed to be a category three offender, was being accommodated in the town. Several of the parents at this week’s meeting wanted to know why he could not be stopped from buying alcohol, as it was felt this made him a bigger threat.

There is a multi-agency set of arrangements for supervising the man, but community police officer, PC Suzanne Howgego, explained these did not prevent him from buying or consuming alcohol.

“Our main priority is to keep people safe and this person is managed by an experienced officer, with a level of management appropriate to the risk he may pose,” she said.

PC Howgego said she understood the feelings of the community: “I’d ask people to keep an eye on what he is doing and if anyone is unhappy, then they report the matter to the police – what we’re not looking for is a vigilante group.

“We don’t want to see members of the Kelso community getting into bother. People have got to remain calm and let us manage the situation.”

However, one mother commented: “You have kids coming down the street from the high school to have their lunches and at the same time you have this individual shouting out at the top of his voice about the crimes he’s committed. Surely that’s unacceptable behaviour?”

PC Howgego responded: “If the man is committing a breach of the peace or displaying threatening behaviour then we need the public to come forward and report that.”

Council chairman, Provost John Bassett, told the meeting he had now spoken with many local pub owners who had agreed not to serve the man.

Scottish Borders councillor Tom Weatherston said that as much evidence as possible about the man’s behaviour needed to be gathered to justify having him moved on.

“Because there is now widespread knowledge of where he lives in the town and what we don’t want is a vigilante group turning up on his doorstep,” he said.