January 2021

Sex offender found staying in a tent in Blackburn park is jailed

A sex offender who was found sleeping rough in a park following three days on the run has been jailed after he was found to be in possession of hundreds of child abuse images.

On May 4 Sheldon Bateson, who was previously convicted of child indecent image offences and subject of a notification requirement, was arrested in Witton Park.

This followed a three day search after Bateson broke the terms of a court order by failing to register a change in living circumstances which meant he was of no fixed address.

When he was arrested 34-year-old Bateson handed over a primitive mobile phone but following a search of the surrounding area by a police dog a smart phone was found.
Bateson denied any knowledge of the mobile phone but it was linked to the defendant via ‘selfies’ found on the device.

Officers also found approximately 200 indecent images of children on the phone, which had only been in Bateson’s possession for four days.

There was also evidence that Bateson had been receiving and sharing indecent images and videos, which depicted the abuse of very young children, with other sex offenders on an instant messaging mobile application.

Bateson, of no fixed address, was convicted of making and distributing indecent images of children, failing to comply with the terms of his notification requirement and breaching a sexual harm prevention order.

He was sentenced to 49 months in custody when he appeared at Preston Crown Court yesterday (January 27) and made subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.

May 2020

High-risk sex offender went ‘off radar’ by living in a tent in Blackburn park

A high-risk sex offender who went “off the radar” was living rough in Witton Park in Blackburn and using another name.

Blackburn magistrates heard Sheldon Liam Bateson claimed he had lost track of the days since his ex-girlfriend kicked him out and had not registered with the police.

But jailing him for a total of 70 weeks District Judge Joanne Hirst said he had been given a chance to demonstrate he could comply with requirements of the sex offenders register and had failed.

“You are a high risk, repetitive offender who has committed serious sexual offences in the past,” said District Judge Hirst.

“You have repeatedly breached requirements and using an alias on social media is the most serious breach other than committing an offence.

“It is absolutely crucial the police know your whereabouts and your identity so they can keep the public safe,” she added.

Peter Bardsley, prosecuting, said had been made subject to an 18-week suspended prison sentence in December.

He said Bateson was required to notify the police of any change of address or change of name.

“He had been registered as living at an address in Queen Victoria Street and failed to tell police within three days of leaving that address.

“He also started using the name Sheldon Croall on social media and failed to inform the police of that,” said Mr Bardsley.

Jonathan Taylor, defending, said Bateson had left his previous address after a row with is girlfriend.

“He was trying to find alternative accommodation but accepts he should have read the small print which would have told him he needed to inform the police of his situation,” said Mr Taylor.

“The name Croall was one he believed the police were already aware of.

“As soon as he got an address he would have told the police but in the interim he had been living in the woods in Witton Park, Blackburn.

September 2015


A 19-year-old woman who downloaded videos of children being raped has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Chloe Dunn from Portsmouth had received what the judge called “sick and perverted” videos involving children aged under five.

She had also corresponded online about wanting to have sex with children.

Dunn admitted receiving some of the videos at Burnley Crown Court and was given an eight-month sentence, suspended for two years.

The court heard how Dunn, of Eastern Road, corresponded with Sheldon Bateson, 29, from Nelson, Lancashire, about child abuse images in April 2014.


At her request he sent her videos, classed in the most serious category of indecent images, of young children being raped by adults.

The pair went on to chat online about their desire to meet in person and have sex with children.

Bateson pleaded guilty at Burnley Crown Court to distributing and possessing indecent images and was jailed for three years and four months.

Sheldon Bateson, 29, from Nelson, Lancashire was jailed for distributing and possessing indecent images

The correspondence and videos were uncovered when Bateson’s phone was later sold at a second-hand phone shop.

The phone was traced to Bateson and it emerged he distributed 17 videos and numerous images to a number of people he was in contact with on the internet.

Judge Beverley Lunt ruled it was “not appropriate” to send Dunn, who was 17 at the time of the offences, to immediate custody as she would be “extremely vulnerable in a custodial setting”.

Judge Lunt also pointed out there was currently no sex offender treatment programmes for women, which she labelled “short-sighted”.

Dunn was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register.