A SEX offender breached a court order by failing to tell a supervising police officer about a new phone he bought.

As part of his licence terms following his release midway through a 33-month prison sentence, imposed at Newcastle Crown Court in December 2017, Colin Mason had to tell police about any devices capable of accessing the internet owned by him.

Durham Crown Court heard that sentence was imposed after he admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming and three counts of making indecent images of a child.

The court was told he fell for a sting by the vigilante group Guardians of the North, believing he was meeting a 14-year-old boy, ‘Ryan’, for a sexual encounter in September 2017, having arranged the liaison in chat over a dating app.

As part of the 2017 sentence he was made subject of registration as a sex offender and a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), both for life.

Paul Newcombe prosecuting, said Mason breached the SHPO when a supervising officer visited his home in Gill Crescent North, Fencehouses, on November 20.

He failed to tell the officer about a Sony phone purchased three weeks earlier, found in his bedroom.

Mason, now 50, admitted breaching the SHPO, for which he was recalled to prison to serve the rest of the 2017 sentence.

Julian White, mitigating, said his client was not hiding the device in clandestine fashion as it was found openly being charged.

Judge James Adkin was told Mason’s earliest release date under licence is in September next year.

He imposed an 11-month prison sentence for the breach, which will not extend Mason’s time behind bars.