March 2011

Rishton paedophiles’ den

RESIDENTS were shocked to discover two paedophiles sharing a home in their street where they regularly ‘entertained’ schoolchildren.

David Higgs, 28, and Christopher Williams, 49, were both convicted child molesters and subjects of sexual offences prevention orders.

However both have now been brought back before the courts after Williams shopped Higgs to police.

Detectives said they were unable to stop the pair living together in Edward Street, Rishton.

But officers admitted the situation, which they discovered after they completed an unannounced visit to the home, was immediately identified as a ‘major concern’.

Officers said they monitored the property and arrested the pair as soon as a complaint was made.

However, that was not before a number of children had spent time at the house, including one youngster who stayed the night because he thought cigarettes and alcohol were available.

Higgs and Williams were arrested after a row at the home led to Williams telling police about a string of children visiting.

Both are banned from associating with youngsters under their SOPOs.

Neighbours in Edward Street, Rishton, said the terraced property was a ‘magnet’ for young children, who often arrived and went in through the back door.

But they said they were ‘astonished’ to discover two paedophiles were living there.

Neighbour Chloe, 28, said: “Everyone knew there was a paedophile there but not that there was two.

“It is horrible to think that they were there.”

Another neighbour, Emma , 26, said: “I used to ban my children from going out in front of the house.

“I was that scared about what was going on there.

“You cannot believe that two paedophiles can be allowed to live together, even if they are being monitored.”

After the case, Detective Sergeant Craig Blackwell said dangerous sexual offenders in Lancashire were monitored vigorously.

He said: “It was when we completed an unannounced visit on the property that we discovered that Higgs had just moved in.

“As a result of that visit our concerns were raised and we escalated our monitoring, which led to the arrests.“ The pair were brought before court where both defendants admitted breaching a sexual offences prevention order.

Higgs was jailed for 18 months. Williams will be sentenced next month.

Williams had served seven years behind bars for indecent assault after committing a sex act on a 12 year old boy whose hands and feet were bound.

Higgs had had sex with a 14-year-old girl, Burnley Crown Court heard.

The pair, who had met at a hostel, were banned from having contact with youngsters under 16 and from having children in their homes.

Williams, who was living at the property in Edward Street first was said to have been complying with his SOPO until Higgs moved in and the younger man’s arrival was said to be the catalyst which led to both breaching their orders.

The hearing was told one child spent the night at the house and another was to tell police he thought cigarettes and alcohol were available there.

The court heard that both defendants regularly ‘entertained’ children under 16 over seven or eight days.

Judge Jonathan Gibson said: “Parents in Rishton must have been alarmed to find that you disregarded the SOPO in the way that you did and children were placed at risk because of your background and previous conviction.”

Simon Gurney, for Williams, said he had been living at Edward Street without any concern for two and a half years before Higgs arrived.