A PENSIONER sexually assaulted a man during a visit to a recycling plant.
Edward Charlton tried to cuddle and kiss his victim during the incident, which saw a judge label his actions “weird”.
The 72-year-old of Edward Burdis Street, Southwick, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to sexual assault when he appeared at Newcastle Crown Court.
The judge was told the victim reported his ordeal to the police, but had not been willing to give evidence in court.
However, the Crown Prosecution Service was able to proceed because what happened – in South Shields’ recycling village on March 22 – was witnessed by someone else, who would have been willing to testify about Charlton’s behaviour.
Prosecutor Andy Rutter told the court: “He put his arms around the victim’s chest, attempting to cuddle him.
“The victim resisted and tried to get away.
“The defendant persisted and tried to kiss him on the cheek. He again wrapped his arms around him.
“The defendant kept reiterating he was not gay.”
The court heard Charlton has 74 previous convictions, eight of which are for sexual offences.
Peter Schofield, mitigating, handed in many references as to Charlton’s positive character.
He also said the pensioner has recognised that his behaviour had “gone too far”.
Judge Guy Whitburn told Charlton: “Eccentric, fun loving? Maybe. Weird? Certainly.
“This was totally inappropriate behaviour.
“Not surprisingly the complainant was too embarrassed to give a statement as to what you did.
“You grabbed him and tried to kiss him and fooled around sufficiently to upset him very considerably indeed.”
Judge Whitburn sentenced Charlton to a community order, with probation service supervision for three years.
He must also sign the sex offenders’ register for five years as a result of the conviction.