AN electrical box pervert who repeatedly exposed himself to terrified women in Accrington centre, has been spared immediate jail so he can have treatment.

Qamar Ilyas, 22, had followed one of his victims through the streets of the town, still behaving indecently, and was standing in front of her when she emerged from a ginnel. The cash and carry worker had made sure the women had seen that he was masturbating.

Ilyas struck three times in broad daylight on two consecutive days, leaving his victims upset and alarmed. The defendant had first been seen by the women as he sat on a green electrical box near Costa Coffee on Broadway. He was said to have been expressionless and not bothered,exposing himself as if it was perfectly normal, Burnley Crown Court heard.

The hearing was told Ilyas, who had arrived in the UK just seven months before due to an arranged marriage, could offer no explanation for his " bizarre, disgusting and worrying" behaviour and couldn't grasp the harm he had caused. He claimed he was stressed at the time and was to tell a psychiatrist he was sending money back to Pakistan and felt pressured by his father-in-law to buy a house. The medic, a professor, stated Ilyas posed a medium to high risk of doing it again.

The defendant, now the father of a two-month-old baby, kept his freedom because a judge said she wanted him to have professional help and guidance. He will also be monitored by the Lancashire Police Dangerous and Sex Offenders' Unit.

Ilyas, of Steiner Street, Accrington, had admitted three counts of exposure, committed on May 25 and 26, last year. He received 24 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, with two years' supervision. The defendant was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for seven years.

Stephen Parker, prosecuting, said the first victim was with a friend at about 8pm and noticed a male sitting on the box. He was exposing himself and was aroused.

The women went to a shop nearby, walked past the same spot shortly after and the victim saw the man again. Ilyas made eye contact with her which " freaked her out." Both women took off their shoes and ran.

Mr Parker said the day after, around the same time, the same victim was walking past Costa Coffee when she saw the defendant exposing himself again. She continued her journey and he followed her, still doing it. She went into Union Street, looking behind her all the time and as she got near to Asda, she saw him again, still exposing himself and looking directly at her. The victim went down a ginnel by the side of a large house and when she came out the other end, the defendant was in front of her, still exposing himself and looking directly at her. The prosecutor said :" At that point he was so close to her she just panicked and ran." The woman, who was scared and intimidated, called the police from a friend's home.

Mr Parker said at 8.30pm, about 40 minutes later, another woman was walking past Costa Coffee when she saw a man sitting on the electrical box, shouting :" Hey". He was exposing and " playing with "himself and looked directly at her. The prosecutor continued :" She says it was as if it was normal and it didn't seem to bother him what he was doing. He had no facial expression." The victim saw him looking at two other girls. She carried on walking, met her boyfriend and contacted the police. The prosecutor added:" She says she felt horrible, very shocked and that it was disgusting. " A police officer went to the town centre, saw the defendant and asked where he had been. He said he had been working. The zip of his jeans was undone. He was arrested. He was picked out on a video identification parade and when questioned, exercised his right to silence. When asked at the start if he was guilty, he had replied :" What answer do you want me to give you ?" The defendant had no previous convictions.

Hilary Manley, for Ilyas, said a psychiatric report on him stated there was no evidence of any mental illness. Ilyas had been unable to explain what happened, but said he had been stressed at the time. The report stated he appeared horrified at what happened and indicated it would never happen again because he was so ashamed.

The barrister, who described the defendant as " quite a young 22" said she conceded the offences crossed the custody threshold, but urged the court to pass a suspended sentence so Ilyas could be worked with and supervised in the community. Miss Manley added:" Clearly his family do not condone this, remotely, and are horrrified."

Sentencing, Judge Beverley Lunt told the defendant :" You have not provided any real, cogent explanation why you should behave in this way. Also, you had only been in this country seven months before you behaved in this manner. It's of grave concern that you do not appear to grasp the effects of your behaviour on your victims. All you look at is the effect upon yourself and your family. You are not otherwise known to the police in the UK."

The judge said there was no question but that his criminality required a sentence of imprisonment, but she continued :" If I send you to prison for 24 weeks, you will be released within 12 weeks, with no time for any specialists to do any work with you, either when you are in prison, or when you are on licence. In order to protect the public, I am quite satisfied you do need professional help and guidance."