PAEDOPHILE claims have driven a Wigan family out of their home.
A couple and their children were seen hurriedly loading suitcases into a car over the weekend after allegations in a leaflet distributed to every home in a cul-de-sac in Hindley Green.
The leaflet, which contained a picture, name, address and date of birth of a resident, caused uproar in the road.
Within minutes neighbours had convened a meeting while at least one resident challenged the couple, waiving the leaflet in their faces.
Residents were concerned about claims in the leaflet that the man, who has lived in the house for five years after becoming a partner of the woman resident, was said to have been prosecuted for possessing level five – the most serious – images of child pornography and claims that he had been involved in grooming targets to perform sex acts on line.
Hindley Green councillor Bob Brierley was called to meet with worried parents and strongly and successfully urged them to act legally even though he sympathised with their fears.
Fearing that they were about to be assaulted – or worse – the couple called police.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police declined to comment on claims on the leaflet that the resident had been prosecuted for possessing images of child pornography.
He said: “Police are aware of the letters delivered to residents living on Severn Drive. Police have not received any complaints relating to the matter at this time, as such there is no criminal investigation.”
Worried resident John Berry, father of a nine-year-old son, was unapologetic about the way residents had reacted to the contents of the leaflet.
Mr Berry said: “A few of the neighbours had received this letter anonymously and I rang the police to know if what was being said on it was true but I was told there was nothing they could tell me.
“The police were called because I was ranting and raving but I think that is a natural thing for normal parents to do in the circumstances.”
Today Coun Brierley defended the residents’ rights to protect their children.
Coun Brierley, who has been speaking with police as spokesman for the residents, said: “I’m not saying that what happened was right but in some respects it was a good thing that this man and woman have left the address because it has stopped something worse happening in the heat of the moment.
“I don’t know if the claims in the leaflet are true because the police won’t tell me.
“The residents say that social services knew about this man’s background and I will be investigating that.
“They feel so strongly about being kept in the dark they are talking about organising a council tax strike and they will all be meeting up again this weekend to decide their next move.”
A spokesman for the council’s children and young people’s services (CYPS) said that there had been no involvement by them in the household.
They refuted claims that they had been about to initiate proceedings to take children of the family into care when they fled.