A CONVICTED sex offender has been jailed for six months after he was discovered living on the streets.

Andrew Bland was kicked out of his Darlington home in June last year and was discovered walking the streets by police officers six months later when he was spotted walking around town carrying two big plastic bags.

The 38-year-old was arrested on Commercial Street, Darlington, on December 10 and taken into custody where he has remained since.

Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, said that Bland was made subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) and notification order in 2014 after police raised concerns about his persistent breaches of the orders.

Mr Newcombe told Teesside Crown Court how the defendant was originally made subject of the order when he was convicted of indecent assault against a child in 1999.

He said Bland was back before the court in 2004 charged with child abduction and issued with a seven year SHPO which was extended indefinitely before it ended.

The court heard how Bland told police in Darlington that he was living on Mowden Terrace in the town on April 16 but the landlord evicted him at the beginning of June and he failed to notify the authorities of his change of circumstances.

He added: "He was stopped on Commercial Street and he was carrying two big bags and was unkempt – clearly he was homeless."

Bland, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to a single charge of failing to comply with the conditions of his notification order when he appeared before magistrates.

"The defendant has a shocking record for breaching orders," said Martin Towers in mitigation. "However, since the order was renewed in November 2014 there has been a reduction in both frequency and seriousness.

"Indeed there are only two times he has been before the court in more than five years.

"It bears saying that the only actual sexual offence he has been convicted of took place in the last century. Even the abduction charge is an old one from 16 years ago."

He added: "There was no suggestion that there was any sinister motivation in this case."

The court heard how Bland was jailed for the child abduction but due to a quirk in the legislation it was not classed as a sexual offence.

Jailing Bland for six months, Judge Stephen Ashurst pointed out that there was nothing 'sinister' in his actions.

He said: "You have two major convictions on your record, one going back to 1999 when you were convicted for indecency with a child and child abduction.

Police had raised concerns about his risk to young people and the application to give him an indefinite notification order and SHPO were to protect the public.

He added: "The seriousness of this offence and because of your history, it is important that you are still on the radar of the police and they know where you are."