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

A sex offender who was caught with a secret mobile phone that had been wiped of all data before it could be examined by the police has kept his freedom.

By Karon Kelly
Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 4:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 4:19 pm

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Edward Armstrong is the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order which means he has to tell the authorities about any internet enabled devices that he owns and must retain their search history.

The five-year order was made in 2019, when he was given a community order in 2019 for sending sex chat to an internet profile of a 13-year-old child that had been set up by paedophile hunters.

Newcastle Crown Court heard it was on May 2020 police went to his home and seized a mobile phone that he had not declared and had been restored back to factory settings, meaning his use of it could not be checked.

Edward Armstrong.

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Armstrong, 62,of Portsmouth Square, Pennywell, Sunderland admitted two charges of breach of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

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

Mr Recorder Simon Kealey QC told him: "You are required to notify the police of the circumstances of possession of a phone and required to retain the historyof the phone."

The court heard the offence, which was over two years ago, was his first and only breach of the order.

The judge sentenced him to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with rehabilitation requirements.

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