Police found nearly 60,000 child sex abuse images after raiding a flat in Wheathampstead.

 

Officers with a search warrant went to the address in The High Street at twenty five to seven in the morning on June 12 last year.

 

The 34 year old was arrested and admitted to the officers that he had been looking at indecent pictures for the past 6 years, St Albans crown court heard Friday 9th October.

 

Prosecutor Peter Shaw said a laptop and computer tower were examined and images and some movies were discovered. There were 27 in Category A, the most serious level, 21 at Category B and 59,536 at Category C, the least serious level.

 

On the laptop, the man had used search terms such as: “Pre-teen,” “Sexy Pre-teen” and “Young girl models.”

 

In his police interview, he was ‘frank and open,’ saying he had mainly been interested in erotic poses by girls aged 11 to 14, said Mr Shaw.

 

The defendant pleaded guilty to eight charges of possessing and downloading indecent images and movies of children.

 

Alex Britton, defending, said his client was extremely frank with the police from the moment of his arrest and took full responsibility for his actions. He said 99.9 per cent of the images were at the lowest level. He asked the judge to pass a Community Order so he could attend the Sex Offender Treatment Programme rather than send him to prison.

 

Judge Stephen Warner agreed, telling the defendant: “Your activities provided a market for this sort of material, which involves the abuse and exploitation of young, vulnerable children.

 

‘But public protection is better afforded by allowing you to attend courses to get treatment for the underlying problems that cause these offences.”

 

He passed a 3 year Community Order with 36 months’ supervision and a condition that he attends the Integrated Sex Offender Treatment Programme.  He must register as a Sex Offender and abide by the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 5 years and pay £300 costs.