'Serious concern' over plans to house sex offenders in open prison opposite primary school

HMP Thorn Cross will start housing the men by the end of the year. Credit: Google Earth

A decision to house sex offenders at an open prison opposite a primary school is a "serious concern", a police chief has said.

Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane wants an urgent meeting with Government officials over the change at HMP Thorn Cross in Warrington.

The Ministry of Justice said the prison will start to accept men convicted of sexual offences by the end of the year.

The prison is a few hundred yards away from Appleton Thorn Primary School.

Mr Keane said he had not been consulted, nor had the school's headteacher, the local MP or council chiefs.

Headteacher Zoe Jones said the school is "seeking clarification" about the change, and will be keeping parents informed.

The school as an Credit: Google Earth

The Ministry of Justice explained the move was a result of more convicted sex offenders going to prison under the present Government.

In a statement, a Prison Service spokeswoman said: "Under this Government more sex offenders are being convicted and going to prison, and spending longer there."

"The ability to test men in open conditions as they approach the end of their sentence is a critical step in this."

"Anyone who is transferred to open conditions must pass a strict risk-assessment and can be recalled to tougher closed conditions at the first sign of any concern."