MORE than 1,000 paedophiles and sex abusers changed their name in the past three years, a safeguarding charity has claimed.

The Safeguarding Alliance also claims hundreds of people on the sex offenders register were even able to do so while in jail... for just £15 online.

Campaigners fear the loophole, uncovered via a Freedom of Information request, means sex offenders can “disappear” into society even though they must inform police of the switch.

Essex MP Robert Halfon has written to Justice Secretary Robert Buckland on the matter on behalf of constituent Emily Konstantis, the chief executive of the Safeguarding Alliance.

In the letter to Mr Buckland, the Conservative MP wrote: “They have carried out a great deal of research into the recruitment and vetting process for those adults who work with children, young people and vulnerable adults.

“Specifically, the organisation has identified a serious loophole in the law whereby sex offenders are able to change their name by deed poll and potentially go under the radar of all authorities putting society’s most vulnerable people at considerable risk of harm.”

He claims the process is too simple, inexpensive, unregulated and can even be carried out from prison.

The MP also pointed to a “lack of joined up approach” between the deed poll office, where a name change is conducted, the courts and the prison service, the Disclosure and Barring Service.

At the moment, sex offenders must register any name change with the police within three days but Mr Halfon said the onus is on the offender to do the notifying, who, the MP said, has already shown a propensity to commit a crime.

Emily Konstantis, of the Safeguarding Alliance, said: “We’re shocked at this, it is putting children at significant risk.”

“How many convicted sex offenders are currently working in schools or organisations where there are children and have notified a change of name?

She added: “We believe this figure is higher because the numbers that were given to us - over 1,300 - had notified a change of name.

“The issue is how many have not notified a change of name.”

Safeguarding Alliance have called for regulatory bodies to monitor the service and deal with any change of name on a “case by case” basis.

The Justice Secretary is yet to respond to Mr Halfon.