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Tuesday, June 8, 1999 Published at 18:00 GMT 19:00 UK


Children deliver paedophile protest

The petition was delivered to the prime minister

A petition against plans to house some of the UK's most notorious paedophiles at Nottingham Prison has been delivered to Downing Street.

The BBC's Jeremy Ball: "Ministers knew this would be a controversial decision"
The 24,000-signature petition was handed over by Natasha Crommer, 12, and Carl Britten, 9, who live near the prison. Fifty other residents joined them in the march from the House of Commons to Number 10.

One child held a banner reading "Any risk is too much".

The protesters are angered at plans to create a unit to house the worst child sex offenders after completing their sentences. The proposed unit is about 250m from an infants and junior school.

The police have assured residents that former offenders will be supervised whenever they leave the jail, but many parents in the area are still angry.

[ image: Child abuse: concern for parents]
Child abuse: concern for parents
Helen Goldman, a mother of twin five-year-olds, said: "I'm really concerned. My children go to the school, play in the local parks and go to the local shops - this is a really worrying thing for our community."

Earlier the protesters met James Clappison, Conservative front bench Home Affairs spokesman. He said: "There are a lot of legitimate questions which need answering about this."

The BBC's Eve Conway: "The protesters attracted considerable attention"
The residents plan to continue campaigning to try to prevent the proposed unit being opened. Several people have camped outside the prison in protest.

The scheme is the first of its kind, and could be extended nationally if successful.

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