Registered sex offender moved to Ipswich without police knowing

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court - Credit: Archant

A teenage registered sex offender has been given a suspended prison term after police discovered he had moved to Ipswich from the Midlands without telling them.

Christopher Gretton, who now lives in Hocket Crescent, Woodbridge, was sentenced by Ipswich magistrates after previously pleading guilty to three offences.

The 19-year-old admitted two charges of failing to comply with the notification requirements of the Sex Offenders’ Register.

These occurred on February 21 and February 23, and involved moving from Wolverhampton to Ipswich as well as living in a house where there were three children aged under 18.

The third charge was breaching a sexual harm prevention order (SOPO) on February 20. Gretton was given the SOPO by Nottingham magistrates on July 22 last year.

Prosecutor Wayne Ablett said in 2013 Gretton, who was aged 16 at the time, was cautioned for a sexual offence on a child under 13.

East Midlands Constabulary had made an application for a SOPO as following the caution he acted in a way that gave reasonable cause to believe an order was required to protect the public. The order was granted for a five-year term.

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Mr Ablett said the requirements under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 mean that Gretton would have to notify police of any changes of address.

On March 2, a police constable with East Midlands Constabulary informed Ipswich police public protection officers she had visited Gretton’s registered address in Wolverhampton on several occasions, but he had moved out.

He was found to be living in east Ipswich, with his mother and her partner who were residing with a friend. Three children were also living at the address.

The East Midlands police constable spoke to Gretton on March 3 and told him to register his new address with Suffolk police, which he did the same day.

Gretton had moved to Suffolk on February 20 and accepted he had failed to notify police within three days of doing so.

The court heard Gretton also had a previous conviction for failing to comply with the notification requirements last year, for which he was fined.

Mark Holt, representing Gretton, said: “Clearly he has made an error of judgment. Clearly he should have registered with police straightaway.”

He added there was no suggestion Gretton had acted inappropriately towards a child.

Magistrates heard his previous breach of the notification requirements was when he applied for a credit card.

A pre-sentence report suggested Gretton does not realise how serious the requirements are.

Gretton was given a 12-week jail term, suspended for two years. He will also have to undergo a rehabilitation requirement supervised by the probation service.

He was also ordered to pay £85 costs, as well as £80 to the victims’ fund.