South Shields sex offender spared jail after breaching sentence conditions

Craig Charlton appeared at Newcastle Crown Court.
Craig Charlton appeared at Newcastle Crown Court.

A sex offender who failed to notify the authorities he was having regular contact with children has been spared jail by the "skin of his teeth".

Craig Charlton was ordered to sign the sex offenders register in January last year after he was convicted of carrying out a drunken lewd act in the street while young girls were watching.

The 23-year-old, of Green Lane, South Shields, has now breached the requirements of the ten year order by failing to declare he was staying at an address where there were children.

At Newcastle Crown Court, Charlton admitted failing to notify the change and was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for two years.

He must also complete 75 hours unpaid work and will be subject to a three month curfew from 8pm to 6am.

He was given a further 50 hours unpaid work for breaching the suspended eight month sentence he was also given at the time.

Judge Tim Gittins said: "In January 2014 you were given an opportunity when a number of courts would have sentenced you to immediate custody.

"This was a serious breach because it put you in contact with children. It put you in contact with children of a relatively young age in circumstances where you were in regular contact.

"By the skin of your teeth you get one further opportunity."

Judge Gittins said it was accepted Charlton did not behave inappropriately or attempt to groom the children while in their company.

Stephen Duffield, defending, said the 23-year-old no longer stays at the address in question.

He added: "What is important, most of all, is there is no suggestion by the prosecution here that his failure to notify was anything to do with any attempts of sexual grooming."

In the summer 2013 Charlton left young girls "extremely upset" after exposing himself and carrying out a sex act near a garden fence in his home town.

He admitted carrying out a sex act in the presence of a child and exposure on the basis he did not know what he had done because he was so drunk, which was accepted by the prosecution.