AN Ellesmere Port man who breached his Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) seven times has been jailed for 10 months.

Gary Hunter, 30, of Hawthorn Road, Little Sutton, previously admitted all charges when he appeared at Chester Magistrates Court in March.

The computer science graduate had previously been jailed in January 2018 for 32 months after admitting four counts of inciting underage girls to engage in sexual activity.

That meant he was a convicted sex offender and was made the subject of the SHPO, which – among nine other conditions – prevented him from owning a device capable of accessing the internet without it being made available for police inspection.

However, when police visited his address in January, they were not aware Hunter was in possession of an Alcatel mobile phone, Chester Crown Court heard on Tuesday, April 27.

Prosecuting, Paulinus Barnes said when police made an unannounced visit on February 13, police asked if they could see the phone.

After a short delay, Hunter passed the phone over, and officers noted the Google Chrome history had been nearly completely wiped, something which Hunter was prohibited from doing as part of his SHPO.

In addition, Hunter had been using Google's 'Incognito Mode', which did not record a user's internet history – again, contrary to the terms of the SHPO.

In response, Hunter said he "was unable to stop himself from viewing adult pornography" and did not want officers to see had been looking at that.

There was also evidence Hunter had been using internet chat rooms, which had the potential for Hunter to be communicating with girls aged under 16 – another breach of his SHPO.

Defending, Brian Treadwell said the phone was currently being forensically examined by police to confirm Hunter's internet history, and said Hunter had pleaded guilty to the offences while saying he had not been looking at anything "sinister", knowing that if police did find evidence of criminal activity, he would be back before the court on further charges.

Mr Treadwell said if Hunter had simply offered the phone – which had been recently acquired as a way to link to a Fitbit account – to the police in the first place, even if there was a history of adult pornography use recorded, then he would not be before the court.

But Hunter was "embarrassed and ashamed" and had done "a very good job at concealing what he was viewing".

He was not a defendant "who was in denial about his behaviour" and had been very candid with probation and police.

Judge Simon Berkson said: "The aim of the SHPO is so police can monitor sex offenders like you. You breached that SHPO on seven separate occasions, and they relate to one telephone.

"You failed to produce that telephone to police in January and spent some time in February before presenting the phone to a police officer, having deleted the phone history.

"I have been told there is nothing incriminating on that phone and I am sentencing you on that basis."

Judge Berkson concluded they were "flagrant breaches" and jailed Hunter for 10 months.

The phone, once forensically analysed, was to be forfeited and destroyed.