HOUSING sex offenders and violent criminals together could have disastrous consequences, a hostel resident has warned.
The 24-year-old, who does not wish to be named, was recently released from prison after serving 19 months for a violent offence.
But he claims soon after being sent to Highfield House in Accrington he was propositioned by a sex-offender resident who had been watching banned pornography on DVD.
Speaking exclusively to the Observer, he said: "When I first arrived at the centre I had no money so I borrowed £20 from an older resident.
"A couple of days later he called me into his room. He switched on a DVD and told me I could pay off my debt.
"I was absolutely horrified and got out of the room as quickly as I could. I am ashamed I have to live in the same place as convicted sex offenders. I don’t want people to tar me with the same brush.
"I feel the mix of sex offenders and people convicted of violent offences is a dangerous one.
"I am trying to deal with my anger but I feel as though the authorities are deliberately putting me into a volatile situation.
"I reported the incident both to the hostel manager and to the police but nothing has been done apart from the guy being given a final warning and his DVD player confiscated."
His warning has heightened fears among resident living near the hostel on Lydia Street.
He added: "A lot of children play close to the entrance to the hostel and it really isn’t right that their parents don’t know who is living here."
It has been widely documented that Highfield House is housing sex offenders despite promises when it was first built, that it never would.
Postman Walter Brown, who lived on Lydia Street as a child and now visits his mother there, said: "My father was the driving force behind the campaign to stop the hostel being built.
"When it was approved we were promised no sex offenders would ever be housed here, but before we knew it legislation was changed and they are now on our doorstep."
Mother-of-four Kelly Tootle, 30, who lives on the street, said: "I have four young children who play out. This hostel should not have any residents who pose a threat to innocent members of the community."
Hyndburn Council leader Peter Britcliffe said: "I think we have always had our concerns about the hostel and this incident will do nothing to diminish them."
Hyndburn MP Greg Pope said: "I am sure I speak for everyone in Accrington when I say I wish the hostel wasn’t based here."
Bob Mathers, chief officer of Lancashire Probation Service, said: "We are aware of an alleged incident between two residents at the hostel. The police have investigated thoroughly and no further action is necessary.
"Approved premises represent the safest option for accommodating high-risk offenders in the community. They offer a range of restrictions and controls that are not available in other community-based facilities. There are random room searches and any resident found to be carrying out illegal behaviour will be reported to the police and immediately returned to court or custody."