Darlington sex offender jailed after defying child ban six times

Darlington and Stockton Times: Teesside Crown Court Teesside Crown Court

A sex offender has been sent to prison after defying an order imposed to keep him away from children for the SIXTH time.

Andrew Bland, 32, of Rockingham Street, Darlington, was described by a judge as a man who posed a "significant risk" to young children but was determined to "test the boundaries" of a sexual offences prevention order designed to protect youngsters from him.

He appeared before Teesside Crown Court to admit the sixth breach of the order since it was imposed in 2004.

On previous occasions he had been caught on CCTV hovering close to mums with young children.

Prosecutor David Crook said his latest offence was to become a member at Darlington Library, which he was forbidden from doing because it could have brought him into contact with children using it for educational visits.

Bland admitted joining the library when he was visited at home by a police officer who was carrying out a risk management review of him. When questioned he went on to say he was also a member of Teesside and Bishop Auckland libraries.

After he was arrested and interviewed Bland said he believed it was permitted for him to visit libraries outside school term time.

Prosecutor David Crook said: "This is the sixth prevention of the sexual offences prevention order. Each of the previous ones appear to have been an attempt to make contact with people who might be at risk.Joining multiple libraries might have brought him into contact with people who are at risk from him.

"In an earlier breach he was watched on CCTV in a shopping centre being very very close to women with children.

"It is this push push push behaviour that is causing concern."

Paul Abrahams, for Bland, said: "In some respects there is some mitigation that he disclosed this himself rather than being caught out. This is not the most serious breach in isolation but one has to put that with the caveat that this is a sixth offence."

Judge Howard Crowson jailed Bland for 14 months, giving him credit for his early guilty plea.

He told him: "You are someone who feels it is a good idea to test the boundaries of your sexual offences prevention order in as many ways as you can.

"You pose a significant risk to young people. We are at an earlier stage here, there is no direct contact with a child on this occasion, but it appears to me to be a preparatory step.

"This is the sixth time you have breached it and you know full well what you are doing."

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