'High risk sex offender' wanted by police is spotted in shopping centre

A high risk sex offender who is wanted by police has been spotted in a shopping centre in Lancashire.

Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 9:39 am
Updated Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 10:39 am
Ricky Stuart, 37, is pictured on CCTV at The Mall in Blackburn on Thursday at around 5.50pm

New CCTV images of convicted sex offender Ricky Stuart have been made available after the 37-year-old was spotted in The Mall in Blackburn.

Stuart, who is wanted on recall to prison for breaching the conditions of his release, was spotted in the shopping centre on Thursday, September 19.

Reviewing its security cameras, detectives found the wanted man walking through the centre at 5.50pm, carrying a backpack and a JD Sports drawstring bag.

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Ricky Stuart, 37, is pictured on CCTV at The Mall in Blackburn on Thursday at around 5.50pm

Detectives have warned the public not to approach him, as he is considered a 'high risk sex offender'.

Stuart, of Lee Street, Accrington, was also sighted a short while later at around 6pm at Blackburn bus station in the town centre.

Who is Ricky Stuart?

Stuart was jailed for 7 and a half years in 2013 after being found guilty of sexual assault, assault by penetration and attempted rape after a week-long trial at Burnley Crown Court.

Stuart was jailed for 7 and a half years in 2013 after being found guilty of sexual assault, assault by penetration and attempted rape after a week-long trial at Burnley Crown Court

Shortly after his sentencing, his licence period was extended for four years by Judge Simon Newell at Preston Crown Court to reflect his risk to the public.

Since his release, Lancashire Police said he has breached the conditions of his licence and is evading police after being ordered back to prison.

Stuart, who has links to the Blackburn, Burnley and Accrington areas, is described as as white, 5ft 7in tall, of medium build, with a bald head. He also wears glasses.

Det Con Thomas Dawson, of Blackburn Police, said: "Stuart is a high risk sex offender and we are appealing for information leading to his whereabouts.

"We would advise people not to approach him but instead call police immediately if you see him."

Police are also hunting for a man who sexually assaulted a student in Preston city centre on Sunday morning (September 22).

You can read more about the attack and a description of the suspect in our report below.

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Alternatively independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111, or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.