Massive numbers of sex offenders are being rehoused in Lancashire compared with other areas of the country.
The county comes third in the league table of England and Wales with a total of 1,554 offenders convicted of serious offences living here.
That works out at an average of 122 offenders per 100,000 population – well above the national average of 92 and ahead of other major areas like Greater Manchester and Merseyside.
The reason for the high numbers is unclear.
One theory is that low-cost housing in some areas makes it easier to set up accommodation but justice bosses said they tend to return to their home area on release.
The figures come from the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements, a Ministry of Justice scheme which requires violent and sexual offenders to be monitored on their release from prison.
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “The issue is not how many sex offenders there are in an area, it is how well they are monitored and managed.
“There is a multi-agency responsibility for this and Lancashire Constabulary is playing its part in keeping residents safe from harm.”
The latest figures, for 2013/14, show Teesside and Humberside both house the most Category One sex offenders, with 127 per 100,000 people.
Lancashire is followed in the league table by West Yorkshire which has 110, and Greater Manchester was fifth with 107, while Derbyshire also had 107.