A PERVERT who shoved a courgette down the front of the leggings he was wearing before “parading” in front of shoppers in Hereford has been jailed.
The prolific sex offender was spotted in High Town by horrified and disgusted shoppers, including parents with their children, on a Saturday afternoon in the run-up to Christmas.
Geoffrey Chambers, 66, stood simulating a sex act for more than an hour before he was arrested by police.
Cathlyn Orchard, prosecuting, told Hereford Crown Court on Friday that Chambers had a “long history of indecent exposures” which resulted in prison time and sexual harm prevention orders, but that did not seem to be a deterrent.
It was at 12.30pm in High Town on Saturday, December 12 when Chambers was spotted leaning against a market stall pole by an off-duty police officer, Miss Orchard said.
He was wearing a coat, tight leggings and a face mask. The police officer’s wife said she could see a large, long item through the leggings which Chambers kept touching.
He kept trying to make eye contact with the officer’s wife, as well as other woman in the city centre, with lots of “distressed” shoppers also noticing Chambers.
One witness, who was shopping with her 14-year-old daughter, said she “felt sick” and immediately went home.
Chambers, who had only been released from prison two months before the offence, then started “parading himself”, Miss Orchard said.
Police turned up around an hour later to arrest him, and he then removed the courgette which was tied around his waist with string.
When officers searched his car they found more courgettes.
Defence barrister Emily Heggadon said since the release from prison in October 2020 he had rekindled the relationship with his daughter, who Miss Heggadon said was in court and supporting her father.
Miss Heggadon said that in a police interview, Chambers admitted the act was something which would “help him out of the low mood”.
She argued any prison sentence should be suspended, as Chambers had recently secured permanent accommodation in Cwmbran and was working to improve his mental health.
She said Chambers, of Beaumaris Houses in Cwmbran, Gwent, wished to apologise and his “intentions were not to convey sexual connotations but that’s how it was perceived by some individuals” and he wanted it to be a “more light-hearted” act.
It also came to light that Chambers had recently committed two similar acts in Swansea and Cardiff, but only received a warning from police in South Wales.
Sentencing Chambers to eight months in prison, Judge Martin Jackson said most shoppers in High Town reacted with “disgust and repulsion” at what they saw.
Having only just come out of prison after serving time for two attempted child sexual offences, and with 31 cases of indecent exposure to his name, the judge rejected the defence view that Chambers was a decent prospect for rehabilitation.
The judge said the actions in High Town were “offensive, disturbing and alarming” and unacceptable in public view, especially where there was families with children of all ages.
Chambers, who pleaded guilty to one public order offence and one count of outraging public decency, was sent to prison for eight months, and his current sexual harm prevention order was modified. He must also pay a statutory surcharge, but does not have to pay costs.