A MARKET trader has avoided jail for exposing himself to a female visitor to his stall and sending pictures of his genitals to women.

Andrew McKnight, of Beverley Avenue, bared his genitals to a woman on the stall and sent indecent photographs of himself to two other women over Facebook.

The 54 year-old is owner of the Real Ale Shack at Warrington Market.

On Tuesday, he was ordered to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work by magistrates after admitting indecent exposure and two counts of sending an indecent communication.

Warrington Magistrates Court heard that one victim attended the Real Ale Shack unit in the old Warrington Market in January 2016 at the request of McKnight, who said that he wanted her advice over an unspecified problem that he had.

When she went to the stall, McKnight walked from behind the bar with his trousers around his ankles and exposed himself through an opening in his boxer shorts.

The victim told him that he "needed to see a doctor", adding in a statement read out to the court that she was "taken aback" by his actions.

In August that year, another victim who had earlier visited the Real Ale Shack to have a drink with a friend received a series of messages from McKnight over Facebook.

During the course of these messages, he said that he was sat in a doctor’s surgery due to an "embarrassing medical problem" which he "didn’t have anyone to talk to about".

McKnight added that she was a "nice girl" and "easy to talk to" before sending a total of eight indecent pictures of himself.

He later messaged the victim again apologising for his actions and claimed that he was drunk at the time.

In February last year, another female received Facebook messages from McKnight – who again claimed that he had a medical problem with his testicles, before sending her two pictures of his genitals and testicles from his iPad.

The victim, who described herself as being "shocked" and not knowing how to respond, told him to go and see a doctor.

McKnight, who had no previous convictions and was accompanied to court by his partner, then sent her a further two indecent images of himself.

Defending solicitor Gary Heaven told the court: “He is ashamed of his conduct and it is difficult to explain why he acted in this way.

“Any level of explanation is always likely to smack of justification but it is certainly not my intention to justify his actions.

“He is 54 years of age and someone who is in a healthy relationship.

“This is a state of affairs where, over a period of time, he became overly familiar with these people and believed as a consequence that he could act in this way.

“Plainly they were offended and that has led to these charges being brought.

“There are aspects of his life that are of deep concern and the assistance he needs may not be received if he is given a prison sentence.”

Magistrates spared McKnight jail and instead subjected him to a 12-month community order, including a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

As well as completing 60 hours of unpaid work he was told to pay £85 in court costs, plus an £85 victim surcharge.

Restraining orders were imposed on McKnight, preventing him from contacting two of his victims for the next year.