People have been urged to stay home by North Ayrshire’s top cop after several recent protests outside the addresses of registered sex offenders.

Crowds turned up outside the home of Gary Dryden in Castlepark last week [Tuesday, September 8] who was convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl in a Kilwinning wooded area in 2016.

The then 17-year-old student got the girl he met on Facebook pregnant – before returning to court last year for using a fake name.

Irvine Times:

However Chief Inspector Brian Shaw said significant police resources have had to be used – urging participants to desist after new COVID-19 guidelines.

Latest Police Scotland figures say 377 registered sex offenders live across Ayrshire with another 123 in custody or hospital – with the county housing the fifth-highest number in the country in the community – more than capital city Edinburgh with 345.

Chief Inspector Brian Shaw said: “Police Scotland has dedicated significant resources responding to large gatherings of people protesting outside two addresses in North Ayrshire in recent days.

Irvine Times:

“The latest restrictions announced by the Scottish Government to tackle the spread of coronavirus are quite clear – a maximum of six people from two households can gather together either indoors or outdoors.

“We will continue to try and educate and encourage everybody to comply with the law for the right reasons and we are expecting people to take personal responsibility.

“But where there are quite clearly significant disregard for the law then those responsible should expect a robust response from Police Scotland.

Irvine Times:

“The Chief Constable has made it clear that we are asking people to take personal responsibility to do the right thing and remember the purpose of these measures is to aid the collective effort to stay safe, protect others and save lives by preventing the virus from spreading.”

Protesters previously turned up in Churchill Drive, Ardrossan earlier in the month[Tuesday, September 1] after sex offender Barry Tidswell, 39, was ordered to receive treatment and placed under supervision for two years and three months.

It’s understood that sick Tidswell, who previously resided in Saltcoats, wasn’t actually present inside the address during the protest – which had been earlier shared widely on a social media post for 8pm that evening.