A WARNING has been issued to Clacks residents after a number of convicted sex offenders were apparently caught using a dating website in the area.

A number of dating profiles linked to Wee County sex offenders were removed from Badoo in the past week, following an Advertiser investigation.

The site took action after being alerted to five different profiles – four of which appeared to belong to individuals on the sex offenders' register, and the other to a convicted stalker.

All the profiles in question were seemingly registered to males living in the Alloa area.

One account was linked to a man who was imprisoned in 2018 after committing a series of increasingly severe sexual assaults on young women and children.

In response to these findings, Badoo said it had banned the users from the site for life.

The site markets itself as a "meeting place for adults", and is used by hundreds of men and women living in the Wee County.

Under its terms and conditions, people may only use Badoo if "they have not been convicted of, nor are subject to, any court order relating to assault, violence, sexual misconduct or harassment".

The site later argued that it maintains a "robust verification process" complete with thousands of moderators.

However, a spokesperson added that they do also rely on the community to inform them of concerning profiles.

Clackmannanshire Women's Aid commended the Advertiser for highlighting the issue and urges caution for everyone engaging with dating sites.

A spokesperson for the group said: "As an organisation we are aware that it is very easy to create profiles online which aren't usually vetted, so we are glad the Advertiser is raising awareness of this.

"We would always recommend anyone using dating apps take precautions to keep themselves safe.

"This would include not giving out personal details such as your home address.

"If planning to meet someone, ensure that this is done in a public place and you have battery in your phone to keep in touch with a friend or family member, letting them know where you are going.

"If you have concerns about the person you are dating you have the right to use the Police Scotland disclosure scheme, information can be found on this via the Police Scotland website."

Badoo told the Advertiser the safety of its users was a top priority, and its staff were quick to take action against the offending profiles.

A spokesperson for the company said: "Badoo takes the safety of its community very seriously.

"We have a robust verification process designed to combat fake profiles and ensure our community can date honestly.

"Our mission to keep our community safe is a top priority for us. We are constantly innovating and introducing new features that put user safety first and we see this as an ever-evolving campaign.

"Alongside our 5000 moderators globally, who monitor inappropriate content and language, we also rely on our community to inform us of suspicious or bad behaviour and in turn we take steps to remove profiles...with immediate effect and ban the user for life."

Anyone looking to contact Clackmannanshire Women's Aid can do so by calling 01259 721407, or emailing clackswomensaid@gmail.com