A SERIAL flasher exposed himself to teenage girls as they walked to school.

At Bolton Crown Court Judge Timothy Stead sentenced Gary Simpson to eight months in prison after hearing that the offence was the latest in a long line of incidents in which 49-year-old Simpson exposed himself.

"Offences of this kind are difficult to understand," Judge Stead told Simpson, who wept in the dock as he was sentenced.

"But I am afraid that I do have to have regard to the public interest in dealing with such offending in a way which both punishes and discourages further conduct of this kind.

"And the sad fact is, you have done this thing before many times."

Andrew Mackintosh, prosecuting, told how Simpson, of Kingsdown Road, Abram, drove to Bolton on two consecutive days to expose his genitals.

On December 10 last year a woman had just dropped her child off at school and was walking along Rupert Street, Great Lever, when Simpson shouted something.

When she turned to look he dropped his trousers and exposed his genitals.

The following day, at 8.30am in nearby Meredith Street, a 15-year-old schoolgirl and her friend were heading for school when Simpson, who had parked his car in the street shouted towards them.

"They were walking along the road and a man shouted out, 'yo'," said Mr Mackintosh.

"They looked towards the man who was on the other side of the road and he had his pants down. He didn't pull them up until a woman came around the corner.

"He started laughing and we shouted all sorts of things," the girl later told police.

The court heard that, at the time Simpson was subject to a community order for committing eight similar offences between July 206 and March 2018.

He also has convictions for multiple incidents of exposure carried out in 2005, 2008 and 2010.

Paul Treble, defending, stressed that the latest offences were not committed in a darkened alleyway and there was no attempt to harm the victims.

"This is a flagrant offence which takes place in broad daylight when anyone could see," said Mr Treble.

He added that although Simpson has previously engaged with the probation service about his behaviour "clearly, there is still work to do.

"He has found it very difficult to be open about who he is — what causes him to commit these, in the scheme of things, minor but frightening and unpleasant offences."

Mr Treble said that Simpson suffers from low self-esteem and has been affected by the deaths of his father, friends and a pet and the court was told that arrangements have been made for him to have consultations with a sex therapist.

Several testimonial letters supporting Simpson were handed to the judge.

"The consistent theme is that, in other circumstances, he is a pleasant, co-operative, helpful, friendly individual," said Judge Stead.

"It is depressingly familiar to these courts that sometimes courts are faced with individuals who, in almost all circumstances, have a lot to be said for them, but nevertheless have behaved in a way which was criminal."