5:24pm Tuesday 28th May 2013
By Graeme Hetherington
THERE have been several reported sightings of a convicted sex offender who uses social media to lure potential victims.
Cleveland Police are hunting missing, 41-year-old Geoffrey Mark Ball, who was released from Holme House Prison, in Stockton, on May 15, but has not registered his whereabouts.
The most recent sighting was Tuesday, May 21 in the town centre area. It is believed that he was wearing a navy blue hooded top, blue jeans and white trainers. He has also been seen in a black padded jacket.
Detective Inspector Kath Barber from Cleveland Police’s Public Protection Unit said: “We’d ask that the public continue to contact us should they have any information regarding his whereabouts or should they think they may have seen this man.
“Clearly, these reports suggest that he is travelling out of the Cleveland area. Officers are concerned as to the methods he may use to obtain cash to travel further. Police would ask members of the public to be aware of requests for cash from people not known to them personally. We are not sure of where he might be staying. He could be using hotels or B&B’s.
“Mr Ball has got previous convictions for violence which is why we would advise members of the public if they see him, not to approach him, but to call police immediately on 999.
“I would particularly urge people to be vigilant around social media sites as he uses them to make contact with people he doesn’t know.
“We are concerned because our officers take a proactive approach to managing offenders in the community and it is rare that we do not know where they are.
Ball was convicted of an indecent assault on a female over 16 in 1989 and sentenced to six months in prison. He was jailed in 2010 for sexual assault on a woman and placed on the sex offenders register until 2017. He also has convictions for violence, including a four-year jail term for grievous bodily harm in 2006, and has a history of fraud and deception offences.
Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is asked to contact police immediately on 999.
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