A sex offender was back before a court following a police application to amend restrictions put in place almost four years ago, when he was jailed.

Colin Finch, now 66, received an eight-month prison sentence at Durham Crown Court, in January 2020, after admitting charges of distributing and making indecent images of children.

The court heard that on a police visit to his home, in September 2017, Finch, of Blind Lane, Houghton-le-Spring, was found to have been in possession of 94 such images, 17 in the most serious category, all downloaded from the internet after February 2016.

He also shared 45 of the images, all in category C, among fellow users of a Skype chat room.

Passing sentence, in 2020, Judge James Adkin said a probation report classed the defendant, who at that point had no previous convictions, as posing a high risk of sexual harm to children.

He told him: “You have moved on from simply looking at indecent images of children to discussing them with like-minded individuals.

“Every time you look at indecent images of children it indirectly encourages abuse.”

Finch was made subject of restrictions over his internet use, under a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), as well as registration as a sex offender, both for ten years at that hearing.

He appeared back before the court today (Tuesday December 5) following a police application to amend the SHPO.

The Northern Echo: Judge at Durham Crown Court agreees to add further restrictions on child sex abuse image offender

Police lawyer Jonathan Tomlinson said the order imposed in 2020 restricted Finch’s internet activity, but there were now concerns that he had breached its terms by using alias names on chat platforms and had used an app to delete his internet search history.

Mr Tomlinson told the court it became evident to police that Finch had been in contact with a woman in her 20s who has two young children, leading to a police disclosure of his offending history to her, in October last year.

Judge Adkin, hearing the application, said it seems that the police were now seeking to “tighten up” the SHPO, to add a prohibition over Finch having unsupervised contact with children.

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He told Finch that the police now want to add the “additional limb” to the order to prevent the risk of further potential offending.

Agreeing to the order, Judge Adkin warned Finch that breach of it would represent a separate criminal offence.

Asked by the judge, Finch said he had no objection to the imposition of amendment to the SHPO, which does not expire until January 2020.