A CONVICTED sex offender has appeared in court after having unauthorised contact with young children.

Matthew McCormick admitted breaching the terms of his sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) after repeatedly visiting his step-sister when her children were present.

The 25-year-old failed to notify the relevant authorities that he was regularly visiting her over a three-month period.

Teesside Crown Court heard how McCormick attended her home on numerous occasions between November 1 last year and January 31.

Robin Turton, prosecuting, said the defendant was made subject of a five-year SHPO following his conviction for sexual assault in 2015.

He said McCormick had breached his order on two previous occasions in 2016 and January last year.

Mr Turton added: "On a number of occasions, he visited the address of his step-sister and her two young children and he said she was aware of his conviction."

McCormick, of Ridley Terrace, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to breach of his SHPO when he appeared at magistrates's court.

In mitigation, Martin Scarborough, said his client had always maintained that his step-sister knew about his conviction despite her initially denying the fact.

Mr Scarborough said McCormick was always supervised during the visits and his pregnant girlfriend attended with him on occasion.

He added: "There was no risk of him offending because his step-sister was aware of the order and he was supervised at all times."

McCormick spent ten weeks on remand, the equivalent of a 20-week prison sentence, he added.

Judge Deborah Sherwin passed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

He was also made subject to a new five-year SHPO order.

As a 19-year-old he kissed a 12-year-old girl while they were on a playing field in Hartlepool in front of her brother and sister and his own brother last year.

McCormick was found guilty of sexual assault after a four-day trial at Teesside Crown Court in April, 2015.

He was given a 12-month community order with supervision and banned from having contact with under-16s for five years.

The court heard McCormick, formerly of West View Road, Hartlepool, suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).