June 2017

Skelmersdale council tenant evicted after he was convicted of child abuse images offences

WEST Lancs Council has made its first use of new powers to evict a 73-year-old man from his sheltered housing flat in Skelmersdale after he was convicted of child porn offences.

Wigan County Court heard that Joseph Riley, formerly of Beechwood Court, Birkrig, Digmoor, had been convicted at Liverpool Crown Court of four counts of making indecent photographs or pseudo photographs of children and one count of possessing an indecent photograph or pseudo photograph of children.

The images were all level A, the highest-rated classification.

He was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, given a two-year supervision order, and ordered to attend an Internet sexual offending programme.

A five-year sexual harm prevention order and a 10-year sex offenders notice were also granted against him, along with a forfeiture order for all his computer equipment.

The offences were so serious that they gave the council grounds to take action to repossess the property under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and evict Mr Riley.

This was the first time the authority had used these powers and the county court granted possession of the property, a flat in a sheltered accommodation block, to the council at the hearing on May 22.

Mr Riley, who was not at the county court hearing, handed the keys back to the council on May 26.

Jacqui Sinnott-Lacey, the council’s director of housing and inclusion, said: “As a landlord the council simply will not tolerate tenants committing crimes in our properties.

“The council has a variety of powers available to evict tenants convicted of criminal offences and we will choose the most effective method in each case.

“The council has a responsibility to protect its tenants and their guests, who in this case were often young children as well as others living in the community.

“As such, seeking possession under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 confirms the seriousness of the situation.”