A PAEDOPHILE who dodged jail after being caught with 12,000 images of child abuse created another sickening collection immediately after his conviction.

Alan Hauxwell hid a computer hard-drive full of indecent images when he was first arrested so his obsession with children would not be interrupted, a court heard yesterday.

After being given a suspended prison sentence in July 2012, he retrieved the electronic equipment and transferred some of his filth onto a new laptop.

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Police searched his Darlington home again last October, and found more than 8,000 pictures and movie files showing children as young as four.

Hauxwell, 51, avoided custody 18 months ago so he could get treatment on a sex offender programme - designed to reduce or remove any future risk.

A judge told him yesterday that he had "paid lip-service to the course" and said it appeared as though he did not want to be helped with his problems.

Last night, police welcomed the sentence and said things seem to have improved since The Northern Echo launched a campaign for tougher penalties.

The Keep Our Kids Safe crusade called for changes to an anomaly which allows perverts use the fact they cannot get treatment in prison to escape jail terms.

Scott Smith, mitigating, told Judge Peter Bower he would have to go beyond the guidelines to impose a four-year sentence so Hauxwell would be treated.

He said the former IT worker had little purpose in his life after losing his job following his first arrest, but was now looking after his mother.

But Mr Smith conceded: "That doesn't seem to have stopped his offending, or persuaded him to seek assistance from the authorities for his sexual activities."

Judge Bowers told Hauxwell, of Dodds Street, Darlington: "You paid lip service to the course and any assistance given to you.

"You are clearly addicted to child pornography and it is quite obvious after your arrest on the last occasion, you had every intention of continuing, whatever sentence you got or whatever efforts were made."

Hauxwell was jailed for two-and-a-half years after he admitted making 8,260 indecent images of children, and possessing 4,073 prohibited images.

Detective Constable Ian Banham, of Darlington CID, said afterwards: "It sends a message to others doing it that prison sentences are now being given.

"The Echo highlighted an important issue last year, and although he never physically abused a child, his activities encourage that to happen."