Sunderland sex offender caught with secret mobile phone erased of all data before police could examine it

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Edward Armstrong is under a sexual harm prevention order, which means he must notify authorities of any internet-enabled devices he owns and must keep their search history.

The five-year order was issued in 2019, when he received a community order in 2019 for sending a sex chat to a 13-year-old child’s internet profile that had been set up by hunters of pedophiles.

Newcastle Crown Court heard it was in May 2020 that police came to his home and seized a mobile phone he had not declared and had it restored to factory settings, which means that its use could not be verified.

Edward Armstrong.

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Armstrong, 62, of Portsmouth Square, Pennywell, Sunderland has admitted two charges of breaching a sexual abuse prevention order.

The charges relate to undeclared possession of the phone and the fact that it was restored to factory settings.

Mr Recorder Simon Kealey QC told him: ‘You are required to inform the police of the circumstances of possession of a phone and to keep the history of the phone.’

The court heard the offense, which dates back more than two years, was his first and only violation of the order.

The judge sentenced him to 12 months in prison, suspended for 12 months, with rehabilitation obligations.

Christopher Knox, defending, said Armstrong lost his job as a result of the earlier conviction, was in poor health and had family responsibilities.

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