A blind man's obsession with groping women while talking about phlegm has landed him a court ban on using the word and a jail term.

Neil Middlehurst, 49, would ask women for help crossing the road and then touch their breasts while talking about sore throats and phlegm.

At Kingston Crown Court on Friday, he was sentenced to 16 months in jail and given an antisocial behaviour order (Asbo) banning him from saying phlegm. He pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault at an earlier hearing.

Middlehurst, who has previous convictions for similar assaults and was jailed for a year in 2001 for indecent assault, will not serve any time behind bars because of the period he has already spent in custody.

The court heard two of his victims offered their help while another went to Middlehurst's aid at his request.

The offences took place in August and September 2003 in Carshalton.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Higgins said: "These offences involved nasty and sordid behaviour.

"You have an appalling history of very similar offences and it is clear you use your blindness as a vehicle to satisfy your desires.

"You abused the good nature of your victims such conduct is deplorable and utterly antisocial."

The Asbo conditions also state Middlehurst, of Boundary Road, Wallington, must only touch women on the shoulder when they help him cross the road.