A voyeur who was caught trying to rig up a hidden camera in a supermarket changing room has been jailed for 12 months.
Christopher Robinson, 44, was foiled when suspicious staff at the Chorley Asda store on Bolton Street found the camera lying on the floor after it had fallen off the mount.
He left the camera and attention was drawn to him in that he went in and out of different changing rooms in the store. A staff member recovered a camera lying on the floor.Peter Barr
Robinson, who later told probation staff he had a problem with pornography, admitted two charges of voyeurism after a further inquiry exposed that he had also set up a spy camera in the bathroom of a home.
He gave no reaction as Judge Andrew Woolman, sentencing at Preston Crown Court yesterday, said: “It is truly an abhorrent crime to invade somebody’s privacy in that way.”
Peter Barr, prosecuting, said: “The first allegation relates to February 24 this year when the defendant attended an Asda store in Chorley and was seen to take an item into the disabled changing room.
“Subsequently the investigation became plain that once in the changing room he had installed a small camera device, and when the camera is analysed he is recorded installing it.
“He left the camera and attention was drawn to him in that he went in and out of different changing rooms in the store. A staff member recovered a camera lying on the floor.”
He added: “CCTV in the store was looked at. He was seen and staff were alerted to his description.
“Later that day he returned to the store again and staff recognised him. A security guard followed him to his car and noted down his registration and gave it to police.
“He was invited to attend a voluntary interview but did not.”
However, the court heard, on August 6 he was stopped on Preston Road in Chorley. An address in the Chorley area was later searched and various recording devices were found, including a mini-camera in the bathroom.
In interview, Robinson, of Station Road, Bamber Bridge, admitted he set up cameras to observe women but made no further comments.
Judge Andrew Woolman said: “Presumably the changing room would have been open to anyone – male, female, young and old.
“You’ve pleaded guilty to two offences of voyeurism of a fairly unusual type.
“It must have been your intention to record whoever was getting dressed or undressed and at some point it must have been your intention to come back and see which images were captured. But the camera dropped off and it didn’t seem any images of note were captured.
“But much more serious than that is the offence which was subsequently discovered. The police found a USB stick on which there were images of a woman getting showered.”
He added: “It does seem to me these offences are particularly unpleasant and must be met with an immediate sentence of custody.”
Defending him, Laura Heywood said her client had a problem with watching pornography and suffered stress from financial issues.
She said: “He did try to seek help for that and saw a psychologist but was only able to afford one appointment.
“His partner tried to help by restricting his internet use but unfortunately it led to him seeking gratification in other ways and that is why he purchased the camera.
“The images were taken for his own purpose and were never distributed to anyone else and all concerned adult females.
“The defendant has expressed remorse for his actions. He doesn’t seek to justify his actions – he accepts there is no excuse for his behaviour and accepts victims would have felt horrified and invaded by his actions.”
The court was told he has referred himself to his GP, is awaiting a mental heath assessment and is trying to resolve his £20,000 debt issues triggered by redundancy.
He must comply with sex offender notification requirements.