A SERIAL sex offender who groped a man in a busy shopping centre while he was out with his family has been jailed for two years.

Robin Jackson sexually assaulted the man as he waited outside the WH Smith store in Middlesbrough's Cleveland Centre.

Prosecutor Harry Hadfield told Teesside Crown Court the victim was “quite frankly aghast” and humiliated at what happened to him and held Jackson until the police arrived.

The incident was captured on CCTV cameras and described as out of character for the 59-year-old defendant who has a background of sex offending against young boys.

He had continued to deny the offence, committed in October 2012, but was convicted of sexual assault following a trial in February this year.

Jackson, of Chapelbeck Bungalows, Guisborough, east Cleveland, who has 17 previous sexual offences to his name including exposure and gross indecency, was arrested by police and officers searched his home.

They found a tablet computer which Jackson had used to access pornographic sites as well 18 indecent images and six film clips which had been transferred onto a disk.

By possessing the tablet Jackson breached the terms of an indefinite length strict sexual offences prevention order he is subject to which restricts his access to the internet.

Sarah Mallet, for Jackson, who admitted two breaches of the order and two counts of making indecent images, said the contact between the two men had only lasted a split second.

“It was incredibly brief and entirely impulsive,” she said.

Ms Mallet said Jackson was an intelligent and articulate man who had voluntarily sought help for his behaviour.

Judge Peter Armstrong sentenced Jackson to 12 months prison for the sex assault and a further year for the breaches of the order.

He also received six months for the indecent images, although this sentence will run concurrently, making two years in total.