South Shields sex offender deleted his social media apps before police could check them

A sex offender who deleted his social media apps before they could be checked by the police has been given a chance to keep his freedom.

Officers had visited Colin Lowrie's home in January to carry out a risk review and check his computer devices.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 28-year-old handed over three for inspection but was "trying to hide" a fourth in his trouser pocket.

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Prosecutor Annelise Haugstad told the court Lowrie "accepted he had deleted Instagram and Snapchat when he saw the officers outside".

The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.

Miss Haugstad said the removal of the accounts had also "deleted all the information contained within the apps".

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

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

Vic Laffey, defending, 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 beeninvolved in before.

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

Judge Sarah Mallett said it as "hard to tell" what Lowrie had been doing as the apps were deleted but added she had received "positive reports" from the probation service about his progress.

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Judge Mallett adjourned the case until September, to give Lowrie a chance to complete the specialist work he is currently doing with the authorities, to try and prevent him from further offending.

The judge said Lowrie must continue to co-operate with his supervising officers and stay out of trouble.

Judge Mallett warned him: "If you succeed, I will not sentence you to an immediate term of imprisonment.

"If you haven't succeeded or you have committed any further offences, I will have no alternative but to send you to prison."