Sex offender alert scheme starts across Dorset

Protest in Weymouth
Image caption Parents in Weymouth have campaigned for the alerts to be introduced

A scheme allowing parents to check if someone is a sex offender has started across Dorset.

Under the scheme, police can give parents more information about someone who has access to their children.

It comes after parents in Weymouth started a petition in support of such a scheme after it emerged a convicted child rapist had moved to the town.

Dorset Police has become one of more than 20 forces to introduce the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme.

The pilot was tested in Southampton, the Stockton area of Cleveland, Warwickshire and the northern division of Cambridgeshire Police.

Sarah Payne

In one example, a parent contacted the scheme after a neighbour had begun offering sweets to their children.

Police confirmed that the individual was a registered sex offender who had been banned from contacting children.

He was arrested and remanded in custody for breaching the terms of his release.

The scheme has been introduced as a result of the murder of Sarah Payne in Sussex in 2000.

The eight-year-old was kidnapped and murdered by convicted sex offender Roy Whiting in West Sussex 10 years ago.

Her mother, Sara, led a campaign calling for a British equivalent of American laws under which the addresses of convicted paedophiles are publicised.

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