How Scarborough sex offender Mark Sheffield broke court order - he even lived in a house with under-age girls

A Scarborough sex offender has been jailed for over two years for repeatedly flouting a court order meant to protect children.

Monday, 9th March 2020, 11:25 am

Mark Gary Sheffield, 24, was placed on the sex offenders’ register and had his internet use restricted in 2015 after he was convicted of sexual activity with two under-age teen girls.

But he breached the order repeatedly by failing to notify police of his new address, bought new mobile phones contrary to the prohibitions and was at one stage living in a house with under-age girls.

Sheffield, lately of no fixed address, appeared for sentence via video link on Thursday after admitting five breaches of a sexual-harm prevention order and two counts of flouting notification requirements.

Mark Gary Sheffield

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These people were sentenced by Scarborough magistrates in late-February

Prosecutor Heather Gilmore said the original sentence at Bradford Crown Court included a prohibition on using any new internet device without informing police within three days of purchase.

Sheffield’s monitoring officer went to his address in December 2018 and found him to be in possession of two mobiles which had not been notified to police.

He was released on bail and moved to Wakefield but did not inform police of his new address in the West Yorkshire town within the specific time period.

Bizarrely, Sheffield turned up at Scarborough Police Station in November last year to tell them he was about to move from Wakefield to Pontefract.

He was advised by police to inform his local police station in West Yorkshire about his change of address but he “wasn’t happy about this” and made “no effort” to inform police of his change of address.

Sheffield ended up staying at two addresses in Scarborough where three under-age girls were living, in flagrant breach of the court order and without approval by social services. He had not registered these addresses with police.

Ms Gilmore said Sheffield’s previous convictions dated back to 2013 and included sexual intercourse with at least one girl under 16 after he ‘befriended’ them on Facebook and “groomed” them, when he was himself only about 17 years of age. He had another conviction for buying alcohol for an under-age person.

In November 2016, about a year after his conviction for the original sex offences, he was back in court after he was found “acting suspiciously” in the street, where he was found with a phone he had not registered.

Defence barrister Jon Batchelor said although Sheffield didn’t go to jail for the original sex offences, he had been placed under strict prohibitions regarding his internet use and contact with children.

However, there had been no sexual contact with children since the original offences and nothing incriminating was found on Sheffield’s phone at the point of his arrest for the breaches.

Sheffield had learning disabilities but was a hard worker who had found employment as a kitchen porter and caterer despite having no qualifications.

He had had a “torrid” time at school, was now friendless and his family had disowned him following his conviction.

Mr Batchelor said there was “nothing sinister” in Sheffield’s buying the new mobile phones.

Jailing Sheffield for two years and four months, judge Sean Morris said prison was the only option because of the defendant’s “persistent” breaches of the court orders.

Sheffield will serve half of his sentence behind bars before he is eligible for parole.