A MAN who moved to Belgium to work has been fined £2,500 after he went off the probation services radar for more than a year.

Alex Martin was given an eight month suspended sentence and six month curfew for two charges of possession of a bladed article in November 2018.

However, the 31-year-old, of Turnbull Street, Hartlepool, failed to notify the authorities of his plan to move out of the country.

Teesside Crown Court heard that an arrest warrant was issued after Martin failed to comply with the terms of his sentence.

Chris Morrison, for the probation service, said Martin was 'wilful and persistent' in his breaches of the suspended sentence.

Stephen Constantine, representing Martin, said his client admitted the breach but had turned his life around since starting to work in Belgium in January 2019 - where he kept him electronic tag on until his sentence was over despite it being out of range.

He urged the judge to fine Martin rather than send him to custody and undo all of his good work.

Judge Deborah Sherwin fined Martin £2,500 for the breach and ordered he pay £125 court costs.

She said: "You brought a whole lot of trouble down on your head in January 2019 when you went to work in Belgium.

"I'm persuaded, but only just persuaded, not to activate the custodial sentence."