A man labelled a ‘monster’ by police who absconded from prison has been spotted in the Chorley and South Ribble areas.

Ivan Leach, also known as Lee Cyrus, 47, went missing from North Sea Camp, Boston, on October 9 after going on day release – something he regularly did as he approached the end of his sentence.

Since his disappearance police have received numerous sightings of him in Clayton-le-Woods, Preston city centre, Avenham and Penwortham.

Police believe he has grown a beard in an attempt to change his appearance.

Leach was born in Preston and has connections across Lancashire.

He was jailed in 2005 for robbing a 90-year-old woman in Preston.

In 1999 he pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a 13-year-old schoolgirl and was jailed for 14 months.

She said Cyrus spiked her drink and threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

Cyrus was ordered to register under the Sexual Offenders Act for ten years.

The NSPCC has warned that there was a high risk he would reoffend sexually against children.

Lancashire Police have a dedicated team of officers looking for him but are appealing for the public to be vigilant.

Detective Inspector Keith Lee said: “Ivan Leach has been wanted for two weeks so we are concerned that he may be becoming increasingly desperate.

“We have intelligence to suggest he is now sporting a beard and looking unkempt which is a significant change in his appearance.

“It is possible that he is sleeping rough and approaching members of the public asking for money.

“He is a dangerous individual but I’d reassure people that we have extra patrols looking for him.

“It is highly likely that Leach is being harboured by somebody and we are confident that he is still in the area as that is where all his roots are.

“We will follow up every potential sighting of him so I’d urge people to take a close look at photograph and call police if you think you have seen him in the past week or know of his current whereabouts.

“We’ve been really encouraged by the response from the public but I would remind people that he is violent and should not be approached.

“The best possible outcome for himself, his family and all concerned is that he gives himself up.”

Leach is described as white, around 5ft 11inches tall, stocky build with cropped hair and hazel eyes.

Information can be passed to police either in person or on 101.