A MAN who downloaded over 20,000 images of children, some as young as eight, has escaped prison.
Ian Roberts, 47, was arrested after police officers discovered a computer at his mother’s house in Batley which contained 21,518 offensive images.
He was given a two-year community order.
Kirklees Magistrates were told police searched the home of Roberts’ mother in Roman Road, Batley, after it came to their attention that indecent images of children had been downloaded at that address.
Alex Bozman, prosecuting, said a computer tower seized at the address belonged to Roberts, of Gilbert Mount, Kirkstall in Leeds.
The majority of the images found on the computer were category C – the lowest level of seriousness – but 12 were category B, showing indecent images of a child aged between eight and 10 in sexual activity with an adult.
Roberts said he had been looking for images of children aged 14 but accepted that some may have been younger.
Roberts was described by his solicitor as a “lonely individual with anxiety issues.”
District Judge Michael Fanning, said: “This type of offending has expanded with the availability of computers and the internet.
“It’s an offence which causes huge harm; it’s not a victimless crime as all these are linked to somebody who is a victim of abuse.”
As well as having to register with the police as a sex offender for five years. He was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
The five-year order includes a ban on using a device capable of accessing the internet unless the history is retained and can be provided to the police. He must not delete his internet history and cannot use file-sharing sites.
Roberts was given a two-year community order to help him understand the effects crimes such as this have on the victims and fined £200.