South Shields sex offender deleted apps on phone when he saw police outside home

A sex offender deleted social apps on his phone when he saw police outside his address.

Officers attended Colin Lowrie's home in January to carry out a risk review and check his electronic devices.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that he initially handed over three phones for inspection but tried to hide a fourth, which had Instagram and Snapchat removed, down his trousers.

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Colin Lowrie.

The court heard Lowrie had "used devices to talk to underage children" in the past and needed to abide by a Sexual Harm Prevention Order due to his previous convictions.

Lowrie, of Belgrave Terrace, South Shields, admitted breach of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

The judge said: "You have a very bad record for these sorts of offences dating back to 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020, and there was a prison sentence last year for breaches.

"When you came in front of me you were part way through a community order. That is running until December this year.

"You seemed to be making good progress so I deferred your sentence to give you the chance to continue making good progress."

Referring to the incident, Judge Mallet said: "A Sexual Harm Prevention Order was made and the police attended your home.

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"You provided three devices and then a fourth that you had been hiding in your pocket and you accepted you had deleted Instagram and Snapchat when you saw officers and that had breached your Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

"Your previous convictions for doing this sort of thing makes it more serious."

However, the court was satisfied that good progress had been made with the authorities and Lowrie was given the opportunity to continue his work.

He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with 140 hours of unpaid work and must complete a rehabilitation order.

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Vic Laffey, defending, had told the court: "There is no suggestion or any evidence he had been involved in any sort of behaviour similar to that which he has been involved in before.

"There is no evidence of significant risk in these particular circumstances."

The judge added: "You must complete the course, you must do the work and you must stay out of trouble."