POLICE are keeping guard outside a family home after posters were put up falsely claiming a sex offender lived at their address.

The family, who have young children, have been suffering sleepless nights since the posters were dispatched around the Grove Wood area of Rayleigh.

Comments and threats have even spread to the internet.

The posters state: “Warning sex offender in your area” and then give the full name and two pictures of a man - it has the family’s address at the bottom of the page.

Police have confirmed there is no registered sex offender living in the road, let alone the address, and the family say they have never heard of the man.

The mother of the family, who didn’t want to be named, said a neighbour had first seen the posters and alerted them.

She said: “It was very worrying. Police sent a car down as a deterrent in case someone did decide to follow through on their threats on Facebook. It is nothing at all to do with us or our address.

“The problem is once it is online, or on Facebook, everyone believes it.

“We have had two sleepless nights already, we just want to try to get it out there to as many people as possible that it’s absolutely nothing to do with us.

“This man has no connection with us or our address, nothing to do with our family.”

Police were keen to stress the family are completely innocent and they were determined to track down those responsible for putting the posters up.

The man pictured in the poster has not been identified by police.

A police spokesman said: “We have launched an investigation into malicious communications following entries on social media and posters distributed in the Rayleigh area.

“This material is causing alarm and distress. There are no registered sex offenders living in any address in that road.”