HUNDREDS of paedophiles were let off with cautions last year rather than being put before a court, figures show.
Statistics from the 44 police forces in England and Wales show that nearly 10 per cent of child sex attackers, including rapists, are allowed to walk free.
When the figures for those accused of child neglect or child cruelty are factored in, then more than 25 per cent of offenders who abuse children were let off with a caution.
The data shows that in the last financial year 5,192 people were charged and put before the courts for child sex offences but another 440 received a caution.
These included 25 people who admitted raping girls and eight who committed the same offence on underage boys.
A total of 75 were cautioned for sexually assaulting girls aged under 14, while 13 received he same “punishment” for molesting boys of a similar age.
The largest number of cautions was seven in Lincolnshire, followed by five in Greater Manchester and four in Devon and Cornwall.
Conservative MP Priti Patel, said: “These figures are simply appalling. To know that this many offenders are being let off is horrific. Giving people who admit paedophile offences a caution is a betrayal of our justice system and the public will be rightly appalled.” A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers said: “The response to each case varies and would be dependent on a range of factors including the nature of the offence, the welfare and mental health of the victim as well as other factors` such as the age of the individuals involved.”