In another development, police have appealed for calm on a housing estate in Workington, Cumbria, after arsonists destroyed the home of a suspected sex offender and put the lives of neighbours at risk.
Victor Minshaw, 52, who is charged with a string of offences, was not in the house when the fire was started because he was forced out by a peaceful protest last Friday. A family of five, who lived next door to him, were forced to flee their home at the height of the blaze.
Mr Minshaw appeared before magistrates last week charged with 15 offences, including seven of rape, four of gross indecency, two of having intercourse with a girl under 13 and two of indecent assault.
He indicated not guilty pleas to all charges.
* It has been brought to The Independent's attention that Victor Minshaw was found not guilty of all charges at Carlisle Crown Court on 11 January 2001, after the prosecution offered no evidence against him.