A PERVERT has told police he had no intention of going back to the street where residents protested against his return.
People living in Lancaster Road, Hartlepool, mounted a protest this week after learning Bernard Swift was planning to return to the family home when he is released from prison later this month.
Swift, 53, was locked up for four months in June by a judge at Teesside Crown Court after being found with indecent images on his computer.
After the protest, the front bay window at the property was damaged and had to be boarded up.
No-one has been arrested in connection with the vandalism.
Yesterday, Swift’s family were seen loading furniture from the house into a van, apparently vacating the rented premises.
Police have warned that anyone caught vandalising the house will be “robustly dealt with”, but revealed that Swift will not be returning to the property.
Detective Chief Inspector Jon Green said: “I think it is important to make clear that the individual concerned has since confirmed to officers that it was never his intention to return to the address.
“All sex offenders are managed under the provision of specific legislation and it is important, that when they are released from prison sentences, that they aren’t driven underground because this obviously makes their management more difficult.
“I can understand the tensions that situations like this can create, but it essential that the police and partner agencies are allowed to deal with the management of sex offenders lawfully and legitimately.
“Some damage was caused to the Lancaster Road address in the mistaken belief that Bernard Swift intended to return there upon his release – this highlights the dangers of people taking the law into their own hands.
“Often people who are unconnected to the situation are the ones who suffer, sometimes as a result of mistaken identity.
“With this in mind I would like to appeal for calm in what is a very tense situation. Taking the law into your own hands is not acceptable under any circumstances and anyone suspected of being responsible for doing so will be dealt with robustly”.
About two dozen residents had waved banners and placards outside Swift’s home on Monday to show he is not welcome back when he is freed.
The protest was led by Lancaster Road resident Tony Mandry, 49, who has two children and five grandchildren living with him.
He said: “It’s good news that he’s not coming back.
“We’ve achieved what we wanted to achieve – people like him are not welcome in this street.
“Kids are starting to play back out again and things are getting back to normal.
“It’s a nice quiet street where we can rely on the neighbours.”
Former primary school governor Swift pleaded guilty to making three indecent pictures on his computer, and possessing a further three sick images.
The court had heard how he got sexual gratification from looking at images of girls as young as eight being abused.
Swift who was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register, was caught after a police raid on his home in September 2008.