A CONVICTED sex offender from Winsford has avoided jail after breaching the terms of an order by using Snapchat.

David Gittins, of Curzon Court, was jailed for four years in 2010 for a total of 14 sexual offences.

As part of that sentence, the 36-year-old was barred from using various internet-based facilities, including on-line chat platforms for a indefinite period.

However, between May 19, 2021, and April 8 this year, Gittins was caught chatting to an undercover police officer on two different platforms – Wink and Snapchat.

Ryan Rothwell, prosecuting at Chester Crown Court, said the sexual harm prevention order that was put in place in 2010 contained five conditions.

“One of those prohibited Gittins from using any online chat facility,” Mr Rothwell said.

“However, over an 11-month period, he was caught using Wink and Snapchat.

“On May 19 of last year, he engaged in a chat with an undercover police officer.

“He was using the chat to generate sexualised conversation, but no sexual offence actually took place, just a breach of this order.”

Gittins sent the undercover police officer a photograph of himself, fully clothed, and became suspicious when the responder told him their age.

Brian Treadwell, defending, said his client had engaged with the probation service and been open and candid about the breach and his previous offending.

“That conviction brings us here in the first place,” he added.

“Although there has been persistent engagement, he has not been charged with sexualised conversation.

“He sent a photograph, but he was fully clothed and fully identifiable.

“He became suspicious when the responder revealed their age and he asked them for proof, which the officer didn’t provide.

“The truth is the defendant should have applied to the court to have the terms of the order amended.”

Judge Simon Berkson told Gittins although the offence had crossed the custody threshold he believed there was a good chance of rehabilitation.

“You have convictions for 14 offences in 2010 when you were much younger,” he said.

“You’ve turned your life around since that sentence and found employment.

“You used two internet chat providers including Wink and the well-known Snapchat.

“It was a persistent breach.

“I bear in mind the probation service pre-sentence report, which is good, but for this failure.

“I believe there is a real prospect of rehabilitation.”

The judge ordered Gittins to serve 12 months but suspended the sentence for two years.

He must also complete a 30-day rehabilitation requirement.