A MAN has been spared an immediate prison sentence after reportedly hacking into a woman's social media accounts and sending messages to other people.

Lewis Aaron Marais, aged 30, attended Poole Magistrates' Court earlier this month for sentencing having been charged and admitting his guilt following a "full investigation" by Dorset Police.

A spokesperson for the force said: "We were called at 7.50pm on Wednesday, February 20, 2019, to reports that someone had hacked into a woman’s Instagram and Facebook accounts and used those accounts to message other people. A full investigation was carried out.

"A 30-year-old man was issued with a postal requisition to appear at Poole Magistrates’ Court on June 11."

Marais, of Longfleet Road, Poole, appeared in court having been accused of causing a computer to perform a function with intent to secure unauthorised access to a program or data held in a computer or to enable any such access to be secured. This offence was in contrary to the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

The defendant admitted committing the crime between December 3, 2018, and February 21, 2019, at a hearing in Poole on July 23 and he was sentenced by magistrates on August 13.

The bench noted that the offence was sophisticated and planned, involved a breach of trust and caused serious harm to victims.

Marais, who is also known by the surname Roberts, was committed to prison for six months, suspended for 18 months.

He was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months and to pay a total of £750 compensation, £122 surcharge and £85 costs.