CAMPAIGNERS staged a mass protest outside a bail hostel last night after a child rapist who was housed there tried to groom two young girls for sex.
The demonstrators gathered outside Plas y Wern Bail, Plas Madoc, Wrexham demanding sex offenders and paedophiles are no longer given accommodation at the controversial hostel.
The event was staged after Patrick Brendan Smith, who was living there, was convicted of trying to groom two young girls. He will be sentenced at Caernarfon Crown Court next month.
More than 100 people stood outside the hostel waving placards and calling for probation chiefs to listen to concerns.
One said: “Paedophiles get them out keep them out.”
Yesterday North Wales Probation Service bosses said a review was underway.
They admitted whilst the safety of the public was paramount, they could not guarantee 100% risks could be eliminated.
They also admitted there were serious gaps in information on Smith’s background before they gave him accommodation at Plas y Wern.
Yesterday protestor Stuart Hughes said: “We have staged this protest because we don’t want the hostel to house sex offenders or paedophiles.
“It was only a matter of time before something like this happened and we fear it may happen again.
“It was lucky something more serious did not happen because it was nine days between when he approached the girls and when he was arrested.”
Smith, 44, admitted trying to lure two girls aged 12 and 13 into his car in Plas Madoc, near Wrexham.
He had previously been locked up for twice raping a seven-year-old girl, and was out on licence after serving more time for a string of other serious offences.
A NWPS spokesman said: “We take this matter very seriously.
“We are continuing to review the arrangements for managing offenders as part of the ongoing process of strengthening the regime at Plas y Wern.
“When Smith was released, the other option – had he not been accommodated at Plas y Wern – would have been to allow him to live in the community, where there would have been less supervision.
“The fact that he was in the approved premises meant that with close cooperation between the Probation Service and the Police , he was apprehended and sent back to prison, for breach of his licence, immediately.
“We would like to assure local people that public protection is our main priority at all times.
“While risk cannot ever be totally eliminated we strive to minimise the impact of managing offenders.”
Clwyd South MP Martyn Jones has backed calls for the hostel to stop housing serious sex offenders at the hostel.
He said he will be canvassing Government ministers.