RESTRICTIONS have been imposed on a jailed sex offender to curb his activities on his prison release.

Steven Gowland was sentenced to  three years and two months at Durham Crown Court in February, after admitting a total of 26 charges relating to indecent images of children and other contents of his computer equipment.

Already on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely, he was today (Thursday April 3) made the subject of a lifetime sexual offences prevention order.

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It was imposed by Judge Christopher Prince, following agreement between Richard Bennett, for the Crown, and Gowland's barrister Rachael Landin.

It prevents the 56-year-old, of Martin Street, Stanhope, County Durham, having future unsupervised contact with anyone under 16, and restricts future Internet use, imposing conditions on his use of computer equipment.

Gowland gathered a vast collection of material, mostly downloaded from the internet.

Some were “disturbing” pseudo-images in which he super-imposed himself having sex with a life-sized rubber doll over images of children in ballet and ice-skating costumes.

There were also hours of footage taken from his parked car, including lewd comments, of children innocently playing.

Police removed a large amount of computer equipment, CD-roms and DVDs from his home last May.

He admitted viewing adult pornography but claimed he was not attracted to material featuring children or animals, although he had looked at some, “because they were there”.

In all 5,196 indecent images of children, mostly stills, but some moving, were found, including 400 of the most serious type.

He later admitted having a sexual interest in children.

Miss Landin described him as “introverted and isolated” and told the court he felt deep shame and embarrassment.

But she added none of the images were distributed.

Jailing him in Ferbruary, Judge Prince said Gowland was, “clearly pre-occupied with a sexual interest in children.”