A WORKER on a new housing estate who had “unlimited” access to homes was dismissed after it was revealed he was a convicted child molester.

Named by a resident as Nigel Knighton, the handyman was hired by William Davis Homes (WDH) to carry out checks and correct faults in the new builds on Copcut Rise in Droitwich.

The developer has said it was “unaware” of Knighton’s “serious criminal record” when he was hired as a 'snagger' and given access to all house keys on its side of the estate.

The Crown Prosecution Service has confirmed that Knighton was convicted of two sexual assaults in 2007, one of which was against a child.

A resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It’s horrific that he had access to our homes and that we have been alone with him and our children.”

She said WDH had let down all residents and put their children at risk by not carrying out a DBS check on Knighton – who she said has been on site for 18 months.

“He had unlimited access to our homes – it’s completely sickening,” she continued. “He had keys to all of our homes and would arrive at all times of day to complete work – often first thing in the morning.

“He was the person who showed us how to use our locks when we moved in.”

She said that she was told around two weeks ago by another worker on the site that he recognised Knighton from when they were in prison together.

The builder had been having “sleepless nights” and was worried that he could be sacked for revealing the information, before telling her, she said.

“He said to me: ‘Please don’t let him in, please don’t let him into your home.’”

A group of residents then found a newspaper article referring to Knighton before demanding their locks were changed by WDH.

“I haven’t been able to sleep, thinking about it all,” said the resident. “We are now wondering whether we need to have a talk with our little girl, about anything that may have happened.

“As a mother, I felt guilty about it all – you just assume William Davis would have checked him out. He wasn’t just a labourer on site, he was carrying out work inside our homes.”

She said all building firms must be made to run DBS checks on all staff.

“It’s a timebomb waiting to go off,” she added. “It would only take one incident. It is a developer’s responsibility to not leave something like this to chance.”

A spokeswoman for WDH said: “Whilst there is no industry requirement to carry out background checks on workers, this incident has clearly highlighted the need to review recruitment practices and is an area WDH is in the process of addressing.”

She said the firm “recently became aware of concerns of residents” on the estate regarding one of its site workers.

“This person no longer works for the company and whilst there is no suggestion any offence was committed while this person worked for the company, WDH takes these concerns very seriously and is acting upon them in the interests of customers and staff.”

She said senior members of management have spoken to residents and the company is liaising with Droitwich Safer Neighbourhood Team “and acting upon their recommendations”.

“The company has also delivered notices to all the residents who may have come into contact with the person concerned,” she added.

Nigel Huddleston, Mid Worcestershire MP, said it “should be an industry standard for such checks to be made on anyone with access to private homes that may contain children”.

The Member of Parliament said he has contacted the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government regarding the issue.

“I am deeply concerned and shocked to hear about this incident of a convicted child sex offender being able to freely enter homes in my constituency,” he said.

“Given his record, it is undoubtedly the case that the most rudimentary of checks – had they been required – would have stopped him being employed in this capacity.

“I have been looking into this issue and currently see no reason why this should not be taken up as a matter of policy with Government.

“The guidance for DBS eligibility says that anyone in the fostering and adoption profession, for example, must have a DBS check ‘where that work means that there is also contact with children’.

“Why a handyman accessing a household with children should not meet the same requirements is not immediately apparent to me.

“At the very least it should be an industry standard for such checks to be made on anyone with access to private homes that may contain children.”

Referring to the Ministry of Housing, he said: “I would like to hear their take on the issue and will pursue this as a I see appropriate once I have a response from them.”

“Hopefully a sensible route forward can be found,” he added.