April 2020

Whitehaven sex offender sentenced for breaching order and possession of cannabis

A convicted sex offender has been given a jail sentence for new offences which include unlawful mobile phone possession and cannabis dealing.

William James Bell, 24, was first sentenced in 2014 for threatening to upload indecent images of a 14-year-old girl online, and made subject of a prevention order.

The order was then amended two years later when he was charged after being found in possession of more than 2,000 indecent images of children.

One condition prohibited him accessing the internet on any device not fitted with police-approved monitoring software.

Bell found himself in front of the court again in 2018 and was jailed after he was found to have breached the order by going online.

He was released from custody but later arrested in the Bransty area of Whitehaven after he was found in possession of a mobile phone and drugs.

Bell was caught in a car with a female. It later emerged he had been living in the car after finding himself unemployed and homeless.

Joshua Bowker, prosecuting, told the court: “The vehicle was searched and in it were found empty snap-bags and scales, more snap-bags of cannabis, a carrier bag containing two large bags of cannabis, cannabis in a plastic bottle, a bong, grinders and pipes and a pink mobile phone.

“About 80g of cannabis were seized. If they were ounce deals they would be worth somewhere between £600 and £750.”

Bell accepted he had been selling drugs to a group of friends to fund his own habit.

He also pleaded guilty to breaching the sexual prevention order and failing to notify police about where he was living.

Marion Weir, for the defendant, said: “He is realistic. He has been in custody now since November 12. He knows that custody is inevitable in this case.”

Judge Nicholas Barker jailed Bell for 24 months; 21 months for breaching the sexual prevention order, six months concurrent for failing to notify police of a change of address; and three months consecutive for possession with the intent to supply.

The judge said: “When you had that pink phone if your possession, it is clear you were committing criminal activity because you were dealing drugs and you had deliberately chosen not to inform the police of it and not to download the software.

“It is a persistent breach. I have genuine concerns about it, particularly regarding your antecedent history and repeated criminal offending.”