KEEPING mobile phones secret from the police — and hiding one in the washing machine — saw a child sex offender remanded in custody.

Philip Sharpe, 48, of Terrace Road, Newport, admitted six breaches of a sexual harm prevention order at the Isle of Wight Magistrates' Court in November and his suspended sentence, given in 2017, was activated, seeing him jailed over Christmas.

He appeared by video link at the Isle of Wight Crown Court for sentencing on Wednesday (January 8).

He admitted three counts of possession of an internet-enabled mobile phone and three counts of failing to make the devices available to the police — in breach of the order.

Tom Evans, prosecuting, said the police became suspicious when he said several times he had lost his phone and couldn't produce it. Subscriber information revealed the phones had been used to access the internet, and one was found concealed behind the front panel of his washing machine during a police search.

Sharpe had six convictions for 14 offences, including making and possessing indecent images of children.

The court heard there was no evidence of contact with minors.

A community order to include rehabilitation days had not yet started, due to his remand in custody.

Oscar Vincent, representing Sharpe, said his client demonstrated a "thinking skills deficit" but his time in prison had motivated him to comply with any court orders in future, as he did not want to go back to prison.

Mr Vincent said no indecent images had been downloaded on to the phones and there was nothing to suggest anything illegal had been accessed.

Recorder Anna Midgley said there was evidence legal porn sites had been accessed, including images of teenagers, and the offences were "likely sexually motivated".

She told Sharpe he had a history of disobedience to court orders but a community order would "give you something to do with your time other than squirrelling away devices for sexual purposes".

She sentenced him to 12 months in custody, suspended for two years.

He was given a community order to include 15 rehabilitation days and 140 hours of unpaid work, plus a £250 fine and £149 surcharge.

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