A sex offender breached the terms of a restrictive court order less than two weeks after it was imposed.

David Mills, 43, was made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) and notification requirements on the Sex Offenders’ Register, both for five years, as part of a three-year community order imposed at Newcastle Crown Court, on May 2.

He was also ordered to perform 150-hours’ unpaid work as part of the sentence after admitting two counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and one charge of attempting to engage in sexual activity in the presence of a child.

The court heard that in social media chats he sent sexually explicit images of himself to what he believed were schoolgirls, aged 13 and 14, with whom he discussed meeting to engage in sexual activity.

The Northern Echo: David Mills accessed dating app only 12 days after previous court order forbidding him from doing

But the’ girls’ in question were decoy profiles posted by an undercover officer from the police's North East Regional Special Operations Unit.

The court heard that when questioned, Mills was remorseful and admitted he had “ruined his life” because of his own “stupid” actions.

Passing sentence, at the hearing in May, Judge Stephen Earl warned Mills, then of Blossom Grove, Shiney Row, that he would almost certainly receive a prison sentence if he re-offended or breached the orders.

Mills, now said to be of Frederick Street South, in Meadowfield, appeared before Durham Crown Court six months on from his sentence being imposed at the court in Newcastle.

He was sent to be sentenced at the crown court having admitted three counts of breaching the SHPO and one of breaching the terms of his registration as a sex offender at an early hearing before magistrates.

Martin Towers, prosecuting, said on October 6 police received information suggesting the defendant was using various social media sites in breach of the terms of his SHPO.

It prompted a visit by an offender manager who attended his address on October 10 to inspect the defendant’s electronic devices.

Examination of them revealed a number of attempts had been made by Mills to register on social media sites and dating apps, one of the platforms being the same one which he used to commit his previous offences.

It emerged he first used one of the sites only 12 days after sentence was passed and the SHPO was put in place, in May.

Mr Towers said the notification breach related to Mills’ use of an alias in registering on one of the sites.

Mills admitted the three SHPO breaches and the one relating to the registration terms as a sex offender.

Vic Laffey, in mitigation, told the court: “The most bizarre thing that could have been conceived with him having been sentenced on May 2 was him doing what he had been prevented from doing by that order so soon afterwards.

“He tells me his head was 'absolutely all over the place', which is no excuse.

“After the May case was reported in the local press his house and his wife’s car were attacked and, at that point, they separated.

"Things unravelled even more dramatically than they had previously.

“She left, having stayed with him up to that point, and he ended up going on these three sites.

“It’s acknowledged they were adult sites as he was seeking to link up with a female adult.

“There appears to be no evidence that he has gone on to chat to any child having gone on to these sites.

“It’s certainly a deliberate breach, there’s no doubt about that.

“He foolishly went onto these websites, but he’s adamant about this, to meet adult females.

“To his credit he pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court.

“One response could be that the door has closed and the horse has bolted.”

Mr Laffey said the defendant has responded well to the other aspects of the May sentence with only 35 hours' unpaid work left to complete.

He added that the defendant is considered to pose a "medium risk" to teenage females.

Judge Jo Kidd told Mills: “Your behaviour began only 12 days after it was said to you, in no uncertain terms, what the terms of the SHPO were.

“Despite that, you went back to the very site that was the source of the previous offence by you.

“It wasn’t an isolated offence as you communicated with other people on other dating apps and it was obvious you were using those social media apps.

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“The fact you used an alias is a matter of particular concern and you were less than frank with the police when they began to look into these breaches.

“They are best categorised as ‘persistent breaches’.”

Judge Kidd imposed a 20-month prison sentence and said it must be served immediately, due to, “the protracted nature of the offending and the short term that elapsed after the last sentence being imposed before it began.”

The SHPO and registration periods put in place after the May hearing will remain in place.