Seven registered sex offenders from Lancashire have gone missing and are on the run, it was revealed today.
And two of them, who may still be in the country, are classified as being at the highest risk of re-offending.
The official police figures were revealed as the officer who heads the county’s Public Protection Unit said every effort was being made to track them down.
Officers believe that, of the seven offenders who are missing and wanted by police, five of them are abroad.
It is not known where the other two – who are said to have a “high risk of re-conviction” – are, but they may still be in this country.
Det Supt Ian Critchley, from the constabulary’s Public Protection Unit, said: “We believe five of them are out of the country.
“What we are doing in relation to those is sharing information with the countries we believe they are to safeguard vulnerable people in those countries.”
He said police have regular conversations with the Crown Prosecution Service and efforts are made, where possible, to repatriate those on the run.
The police figures show there are currently 1,517 registered sex offenders in Lancashire, including 118 in Preston alone.
A further 192 are registered in Chorley, West Lancashire and South Ribble, and 243 in Lancaster, Morecambe and Wyre.
Among those on Lancashire Police’s most wanted list are 64-year-old Keith David Richardson, who is wanted for failing to tell officers he was going abroad. He is currently believed to be in Spain.
Yasir Abdullah, 32, who is originally of Palestinian descent, is also wanted under the Sex Offences Act. He has had a previous bid for asylum in the UK turned down and his current whereabouts is unknown.
And Naveen Shivan, 40, who was convicted in his absence in Lancashire for a sex assault, is also wanted. He is thought to have returned to India, where he is originally from.
“It is an issue and I want to reassure the public that our absolute priority is the relocation of any sexual offender,” added Det Supt Critchley.
“Notifying us of their whereabouts is a statutory requirement and in each and every case we will assess the risk they pose to the public.
“Out of 1,500 sex offenders, in the vast majority of cases, we manage the risk that is posed to the public without further offending.”