Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Banned from Beach

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Banned from Beach

Article excerpt

Byline: Will Sutton

A dangerous paedophile has been banned from beaches after police discovered children's items in his home and a map showing a coastal area ringed in red pen.

Sex offender Eric Driffield, 76, pictured, is now banned from going within a mile of any beaches during the summer after being handed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).

Teesside Magistrates' Court heard the Middlesbrough pensioner had plans to move to Scarborough to get away from "vigilantes and the Gazette".

But, as the court heard, police searched his room in July and found a child's bedding, a youngster's hat and a map of Scarborough with the coast outlined in red pen.

The pensioner was given a three-year jail sentence in January last year after admitting nine offences relating to the assault or grooming of children.

Officers searched his former home in Poplars Road, Linthorpe, in July, 2004, following reports of young girls approaching the property.

Searches uncovered pornographic material and part of his garage had been converted with bedding, security lights, trip wires, alarms and bolts on the door.

An overcoat inside the house was found to contain a doll and a pair of children's knickers, while his victims would later tell Teesside Crown Court how they were plied with cigarettes, money and alcohol before being assaulted.

Driffield admitted five indecent assaults, three sexual assaults and one offence of meeting a child following sexual grooming.

Jailing him and placing him on the Sex Offenders' Register for life, Judge John Walford told him: "This sort of behaviour is so repugnant to right-thinking people as to demand a custodial sentence."

But Driffield was released at the start of this year and police applied for the SOPO order after discovering his plans in July.

Det Con Richard Walton said: "Concerns arose about his co-operation with probation services and also his moving-on plans.

"He wanted to move to Scarborough and he was declining to reveal his convictions to housing providers in the area. …

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