Questions have been raised asking how a convicted rapist with a history of sexual offending was allowed to re-offend.
Leslie Foster was jailed this week after spending more than seven hours prowling around a Preston toy shop, before exposing himself to a seven-year-old girl.
Foster, 63, had previously been jailed for life after being convicted of a knifepoint rape in 1978, while he was a patient at Whittingham Hospital in Preston. He also has convictions for indecent assault and attacking a pensioner.
Now critics have asked why Foster, described as a “danger to the public”, was allowed to continue offending, after a string of convictions.
Terry Cartwright, who represents Deepdale ward where the Toys ‘R’ Us store is, said: “People like that shouldn’t be let out. If they are raping somebody at knifepoint they are a danger to the public.
“Anybody who goes down that road to rape somebody should be kept behind bars, because the public is not safe when they are out.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: “There are programmes for sex offenders in prison and in probation that they have to attend as part of the offender rehabilitation, and if somebody has a history of sex offending they will be on the sex offender register for a long time.
“There is a sex offender treatment programme which is what people with a history of sex offending will go on, but once they come to the end of their sentence we are legally obliged to release them, and they can’t then go on courses that are run by the prison or the probation service. It is up to the police to keep monitoring them.”
The spokesman said he couldn’t comment on specific cases. He added: “Even if they are not on a course, they will still be monitored by the authorities.”
Readers at lep.co.uk also raised questions about the security in the Deepdale Toys ‘R’ Us store. A spokesman said he couldn’t comment until a full investigation had been carried out. Foster, of Spendmore Lane, Coppull, was jailed for five years and four months, with a three year licence.