A PENSIONER who persistently pestered teenage girls despite being banned by a court order from approaching children has been spared jail.
Kenneth Turton was given an interim sexual offences prevention order in 2010 which barred him from having any contact with under 16-year-olds.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 68-year-old breached the conditions of the order nine times last year by being a nuisance to schoolgirls in public.
Prosecutor Amanda Rippon told the court Turton, who was being monitored by the police, approached youngsters in Sunderland and Durham city centres and tried to chat to them on buses.
He would try to engage them in conversations about paintings, the police, body piercing and boys.
He gave one schoolgirl a necklace he had been carrying around in an envelope.
Turton, of Houghtonside, Houghton, admitted breaching the order.
He has a previous conviction for taking indecent photographs of children from a decade ago.
Judge Roger Thorn said Turton’s behaviour could be partly down to him being a “lonely old man”.
The judge told him: “You have to think of your victims. They were seriously disturbed by your behaviour.
“You must know you are a watched man in the community, who through his life has behaved bizarrely, and increasingly so.”
The judge sentenced Turton, who has mental health problems, to 11 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, with a condition of psychiatric treatment.
Judge Thorn warned him: “I doubt you will get another chance.”
Julian Smith, defending, said Turton’s behaviour was not sexually motivated.
Mr Smith added: “There is an element of his offending which might be described as pathetic.
“He is a figure that might be described as sad.”