A paedophile will spend Christmas behind bars after dressing up as Santa and offering to have his photograph taken with children.

Stephen Brown, 40, has been jailed for six weeks after he was arrested on Northumberland Street in Newcastle city centre over the weekend.

He was dressed up as Santa Claus and stood near a Fenwick department store on the busy shopping street.

The registered sex offender was offering to pose in photographs with children in exchange for a donation.

Concerned security staff at the department store called the police who discovered Brown was a registered sex offender who was subject to a lifetime Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).

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Brown was handed the order in 2012 after he was jailed for five years for possession of indecent images and inciting a child to engage in a sex act.

Brown has been jailed for six weeks after breaching his Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO)
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Brown has been jailed for six weeks after breaching his Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO)

Chief Inspector Steve Wykes, of Northumbria Police, said Brown’s SOPO stated he was not allowed any contact with children unless he had the consent of a parent or guardian who was aware of his convictions.

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Mr Wykes added that police believe two people posed for a photo but it was “clear they had no idea he was a convicted paedophile”.

He was jailed for six weeks on Monday after a court was told it was the second time he had breached the order since he was released from prison in January 2017.

Mr Wykes has praised the teamwork between security staff at Fenwick and officers on patrol in the city.

He said: “Stephen Brown would not have looked out of place on Northumberland Street this weekend dressed as Santa Claus.

“There has been a fantastic atmosphere in the city in the lead up to Christmas and thousands of people were in the area doing their shopping.

“Many people would have walked by Brown and thought that it was perfectly normal for him to be offering people the chance to pose for a picture.

“But security staff at Fenwick knew something wasn’t quite right and have contacted our officers who have checked his details and taken decisive action.”

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Brown put up a sign telling people to “get ya picture taken” with him. Pic: Northumbria Police

Brown from Fawdon, Newcastle, was jailed for five years in July 2012 after admitting a string of child sex offences.

A teenage girl had contacted police after an anonymous social media account had befriended her and sent a string of sexual messages, a court was told.

He had encouraged her to perform sex acts and even threatened the schoolgirl when she refused to carry out his demands.

The girl contacted police and officers and after identifying Brown, officers also discovered a number of indecent images of children during a search of his property.