A MAN with a sexual fetish for children's shoes robbed two school girls in the street and collected four bin liners of stolen children’s clothing and footwear, a judge told York Crown Court.

Today Darryl Kwiatowski is again a free man after Recorder Richard Wright QC gave him the chance to conquer his obsession instead of spending years in jail.

The 24-year-old knocked a girl to the ground from behind as she walked home from school along Millfield Lane, Acomb, and stripped her shoes and socks off her, said Rob Galley, prosecuting. In a separate incident, some weeks later, he also grabbed a younger girl in a headlock as she walked to school through the Beckfield Lane estate and pulled her shoes off her.

His four-year campaign to collect children's shoes, socks and clothing ended on September 1, 2015, when he grabbed a pair of shoes from where a girl had put them while she played outside, but was spotted by adults who gave chase as he ran off down the street.

Police found four bin liners full of children's clothing in his bedroom including a bra and the shoes and socks taken from the two robbery victims.

Kwiatowski spent four and a half months in custody before he was sentenced at York Crown Court.

Recorder Richard Wright QC told Kwiatowski: "I am quite satisfied that what lay behind your offending was that you are developing or have developed a sexual fetish or interest in children's shoes, socks and clothing. On these occasions, you could not help yourself but to act on that fetish to steal their clothing.

"For the children whom you targeted, what you did must have been a distressing, shocking and upsetting experience.

"I have to turn my attention to the long-term protection of the public and I ask myself whether that is best achieved by sending you to prison for a number of years or give you an opportunity to nip in the bud this problem you plainly have."

He made a three-year community order with a condition that Kwiatowski go on a sex offender treatment order. Kwiatowski, of Jute Road, Acomb, pleaded guilty to two charges of robbery and one of theft. He must also pay £280 costs.

The judge warned if he does not do the order, he will be sent to jail for several years.

Asked to make a sexual harm prevention order restricting Kwiatowski's behaviour in a bid to stop him repeating his offences, he said he didn't have the power to do so because robbery and theft are not sexual offences.

Kwiatowski's barrister Paul Hodgkinson said the fetish was related to a "problem in his infancy" and that he had lost his job when he was remanded in custody following his arrest.

Mr Galley said the younger girl was now afraid to walk to and from school along and either went with friends or got a lift.