Jun 6 2012 by Andrew McNair, Dumfries Standard Wednesday
A MAN was forced to flee two towns in the region after he was accused of being a paedophile.
The 46-year-old was hounded out of Annan and then Castle Douglas.
His name and picture were posted on the social networking site Facebook with allegations that he was a child abuser.
A window of a house in Shawhill Court in Annan was smashed and an attempt was made to set fire to the property on Wednesday.
Police advised the man to leave the house for his own safety on Thursday after a crowd gathered outside.
He moved to an address in Castle Douglas but was forced out of the town at the weekend.
A police spokesman told the Standard the man had now left Dumfries and Galloway.
The Facebook page which published allegations against the man has been shut down.
And police yesterday appealed for calm.
Inspector Gordon McKnight, operational commander for Annan, said after Thursday’s incident: “There is quite clearly some concern in the area about an occupant of a house in Shawhill Court and this gathering follows on the heels of previous damage caused to this house.
“The occupant of the house no longer lives there and has moved out of the area, and as such I would urge the community to take reassurance from the fact that extra police patrols are being put on to address this matter.”
He added: “Large gatherings like the ones witnessed last night (Thursday) only raise tensions and erode public confidence.
“Anyone who has any information or has issues with anyone who is living in their community, for whatever reason, should contact the police in the first instance.
“The type of behaviour witnessed last night (Thursday) is thankfully rare in our towns and villages across Dumfries and Galloway and we will now have to work hard with our community officers, partners and elected members to restore public confidence in this area.
“I am more than happy to meet and sit down with anyone who has any issues with the manner in which police services are delivered in the area, in an attempt to stop any similar incidents.
“The public should aware that we will deal robustly with this type of behaviour and extra patrols are being put on to monitor the situation and deal with any fallout.”
The police are making inquiries into complaints against the man but they have indicated he is not on the sex offenders’ register.
Thursday’s tensions surfaced just days after separate incidents in which a car and flat were set on fire in Ecclefechan.
Jamie McKie’s home in Caven Place was targeted after he was accused in court of possessing indecent images of children.
He made no plea and the case was continued.
But within hours of the court case details being published his car was set on fire.
He was moved from his home when it was set on fire on Saturday past.
A fire brigade spokesman said there was “no doubt” the blaze was started deliberately.
The incidents in Annan and Castle Douglas were not related to Mr McKie’s case.