A secure unit to provide shelter for the country's worst child sex offenders received its first resident yesterday when the notorious paedophile Lennie Smith moved in despite protests from the local community.

Two other offenders will join Smith, 44, in the converted block next to Nottingham prison, which has been designed for paedophiles who have served their sentences but need a place to stay.

Although Smith has been told he must abide by certain rules if he wants to remain in the bedsit accommodation, the Prison Officers Association said he was technically a free man and could leave whenever he wanted.

Smith, 44, was jailed for 10 years in 1992 for a series of sex attacks on a six-year-old boy. He is HIV positive.

Earlier this year he allegedly suffered a nervous breakdown at Wakefield prison.

He pleaded for protection after his release last month and has been in voluntary custody with the Metropolitan Police.

Robert Oliver, 46, is expected to join Smith at the unit shortly.

He was jailed for 15 years for his part in the death of 14-year-old rent boy Jason Swift in 1985.

Swift was drugged and raped by up to 12 men before being killed.

Oliver was hounded from town to town after his release four years ago. He spent four months living in a Sussex police cell before being housed in a unit for the mentally disabled in Milton Keynes.

Protesters have clashed with police on several occasions outside Nottingham prison, fearing local children will be in danger.

However Nottinghamshire police and the probation service said yesterday the former offenders will have to give 24-hours notice before they venture out so that proper supervision can be arranged.

Sean Price, assistant chief constable said: "We have put in place plans to make sure we are able to monitor these ex-offenders when they are not in the unit."

Malcolm Ayers, assistant chief probation officer, said: "We want to reassure residents that our prime responsibility is their safety and protection."

The unit, which has five wardens, cost £1million and is surrounded by high fencing.

A home office spokesman said: "We listened to the concerns of residents throughout the protest.

"We tried to explain why we were going ahead with this policy and reassuring residents that they and their children were safe.

"If you analyse the policy we have adopted and look at the secure accommodation they will be kept in, as opposed to being out in the open, you will see it is the most sensible option as well."

Paedophile unit gets first resident   
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/1999/jul/20/nickhopkins