A "DANGEROUS" man who was the first to be convicted for cyber-flashing in the UK has been jailed today as police have urged perpetrators to reflect on their behaviour.

Nicholas Hawkes, 39 from Basildon appeared at Southend Crown Court where he was sentenced after admitting to two counts of sending a photograph or film of genitals to cause alarm, distress or humiliation.

Hawkes was already a convicted sex offender when he sent the unsolicited images to a 15-year-old girl and a woman on February 9. The woman took screenshots of the photograph on WhatsApp and reported him to Essex Police the same day.

Hawke’s conviction was the first in the UK for this offence, which was introduced in 2023 under the Online Safety Act.

He has now been jailed for one year and three months.

As part of the sentence, he was convicted of breaching a suspended sentence order.

He must comply with a 10-year restraining order and will be subject to a 15-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Detective Chief Inspector James Gray said: “This result proves that we are able to thoroughly investigate all sexual offences, including those which have only recently been criminalised.

“Hawkes has proven himself to be a dangerous individual and our Crime and Public Protection Team have put hours of work into ensuring he is taken off the streets.

“Perpetrators may think that by offending online, they are less likely to be caught, however that is not the case. ‘Cyber-flashing’ has a detrimental impact on victims, and we will continue to investigate all reports of this offence.

“My main message here is to the perpetrators, people who think it’s acceptable to send these unsolicited photos without permission. It’s not and I ask those who think it is acceptable to reflect on their behaviour.”