Jail warning for sex offender

Jedburgh Sheriff Court.
Jedburgh Sheriff Court.

A sex offender has been warned he faces the prospect of custody if he breaches the terms of a community payback order again.

Ashley Bell, 34, of Hawick, admitted at Jedburgh Sheriff Court a second breach of his order by accessing the internet via his mobile telephone.

He was originally given a three-year community payback order with supervision in 2015 after pleading guilty to sending messages of a sexual nature to a 14-year-old girl over Facebook.

Defence lawyer Natalie Hamilton said there was an underlying issue of alcohol consumption which resulted in her client “making these foolish decisions”.

After studying the contents of a criminal justice social work report, Sheriff Peter Paterson said he was prepared to allow the order to continue, but he added that if there were a further breach, it would leave him with no alternative than to jail Bell.

A review hearing has been fixed for November.