A WINNINGTON man exposed himself to his parents’ neighbour after she offered to look after their cats while they were on holiday.

Joshua Searby was also checking in at his parents’ house while they were in America for two weeks in October.

Their neighbour, a woman, had offered to call in daily to make sure the family cats were fed.

Late on Tuesday, October 10, Searby knocked on the neighbour’s window, explaining he’d forgotten his key and needed to get into his parents’ house.

She noticed the 29-year-old was drunk straight away, but used her key to let him in and went inside with him. 

He started making small talk with her, then asked if she had a boyfriend, and whether she liked younger men.

He then undid his trousers, took out his penis with his left hand, and started stroking it with the open palm of his right hand, ‘like you would a cat’, the neighbour said.

The neighbour told him what was doing was inappropriate, then left and went back to her house.

She reported the incident to the police the next day, who went to Searby’s Solvay Road home to interview him.

While there, they found two buds of cannabis, a drugs grinder, and a bong.

Searby was taken into custody and later charged with one count each of indecent exposure and possession of cannabis, which he admitted before magistrates in Chester on Tuesday, October 31.

He returned to Chester Magistrates Court for sentencing Tuesday, November 28.

Prosecuting, Andrew Page said the victim was ‘shocked and astonished’ by her encounter with Searby, but only reported him to the police after a period of ‘serious reflection’.

Searby described his drunkenness on October 10 to police as ‘eight or nine out of 10’ adding he had no memory of exposing himself. 

However, he says he doesn’t doubt what she says is true, and he is ‘extremely sorry’.

Mr Page added Searby has previous convictions for assault and criminal damage between 2015 and 2020, as well as a disqualification for drink-driving on Christmas Day 2022.  

He also said the defendant has a £260-a-week cannabis habit.

Defending, Selina Woodward said Searby is ‘extremely ashamed and disgusted’ by his actions, adding: “He’s frightened by the fact he can’t remember anything of the incident.

“My client has a successful landscape gardening company and has a seven-year-old son, who is his world. They see each other every weekend.”

She added he uses cannabis to help with mental health issues, but ‘desperately’ wants to find an alternative way of coping.   

He has already started a drugs rehabilitation programme, she said, with sessions beginning on properly on December 6.

Passing sentence, the chairman of the bench called Searby’s behaviour ‘grossly offensive’, before handing him an 18-month community order.

This is to include 140 hours unpaid work, 25 rehabilitation activity days, and a six-month drug rehabilitation programme.

He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for five years, pay £120 court costs, and £114 victim surcharge.

The bench gave no separate penalty for the cannabis charge but ordered the drugs and paraphernalia to be forfeited.