A convicted sex offender hid behind a fake name on the internet to set up a business, a court was told.
Nicholas Alexander Waite, 24, who had profiles on social networking sites Facebook and LinkedIn, used the name Nicholas Peterson to attract customers, so they wouldn’t “ Google” his real details and find out he was on the sex offenders’ register.
Burnley magistrates heard how Waite, who is on the register until 2018, is supposed to notify the police of a change of name within three days, but didn’t.
He had flouted the notification requirements before.
Waite was given a community order and was placed on the register for five years in August 2013.
At the latest court hearing, Waite, who is currently on a sexual offenders’ programme, was spared jail for breaching the register a second time, but was warned by Bench chairman Mr John James he would “ almost certainly “ go to prison if he did it again. Mr James added :” It was a commercial business and you are engaging fully with the probation service.”
The defendant, now unemployed, was given an eight week curfew, between 10pm and 7am, seven days a week and was ordered to pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge. Waite, of Mary Towneley Fold, Burnley, admitted failing to comply with the notification requirements of the sex offenders’ register, on August 16.
Prosecutor Miss Parveen Akhtar told the court a police officer was aware Waite had been using a Facebook profile under the name Nicholas Peterson. He checked the system and the name had not been registered.
Miss Akhtar said the officer went to the defendant’s home. The prosecutor continued :” He was asked straight to his face if he had used the name Nicholas Peterson or it meant anything to him and he said he had never heard of it.”
Miss Akhtar said Waite was arrested and a few moments later, when he was interviewed, he admitted breaching the requirements. He said he had set up a Facebook profile to conduct sales without risk of his real details being the subject of any Google searches and his status on the register being found out.
Mr Nick Dearing, defending, said Waite had found it difficult to find work because of the information about him on the internet. He continued:”He set up a company which sourced good deals, for people on relatively low incomes, for white goods. He’s aware people would not treat him seriously if he put in his real name.”
The solicitor said :” He put in a fake name when he set up a business to try and attract customers. It was a business profile. It appeared on LinkedIn. It was solely for the purpose of obtaining sales, to work.
“It has always been marketing to adults. Within the hour he made full and frank admissions to the police.”
Mr Dearing said Waite didn’t have any documentation in the name of Nicholas Peterson. He added:” The purpose he used the name was entirely innocuous and not any sinister purpose.
“He is complying fully with his current community order.”