A PAEDOPHILE who called viewing child abuse images a “regular pastime” after police found his stash of more than 30,000 sick photos was spared jail.
Barry Jones, of Barnaby Road, Southend, told police he was “addicted” to the online images when they raided his home in December.
Basildon Crown Court heard the 47-year-old downloaded images and movies featuring the abuse of boys and girls as young as two-years-old.
Christopher Paxton, prosecuting, said the collection of images was “extensive” and featured a “broad range” of victims.
He said: “It varies from very young babies right through to older children in a variety of different poses and a variety of acts.”
The collection consisted of more than 4,000 still images and 200 movies in the most serious Category A. There were more than 7,000 stills and 80 movies in Category B. Jones also had more than 20,000 still images and 50 Category C movies.
Mr Paxton said: “In interview he said he was addicted to viewing the images and he would look at images of both boys and girls. He said it had become a regular pastime.
“He described it as his dirty secret because he was, at the time, a working man.”
Jones also admitted possession of ammunition for a firearm without a certificate, in relation to two bullets he had for display purposes.
Miss Steggles, mitigating, said Jones had been “candid” and “honest” since his arrest.
She said: “It’s been going on for a long time and he accepts that. From reading the probation report, Mr Jones feels isolated socially and in his relationships.
“With that, there has been a reliance on alcohol and a reliance on drugs.
“As it’s a small community it’s been all over Facebook and there have been consequences to him as a result of that.
“He accepts he has a problem and he’s asking for help with that problem.”
Judge John Lodge said Jones had been “downloading this filth for a long period of time.”
However, he said a custodial sentence would not allow Jones to take part in an internet sex offender treatment programme, recommended by the probation service, and neither would a suspended sentence.
Jones was handed a 36 month community order, during which he must complete 150 hours of unpaid work and take part in the treatment programme.
He must also sign the sex offenders register for 15 years and pay £500 costs.