A MAN has pleaded guilty to possessing more than 5,500 indecent images of children and animals.

Paul Davies, of Major Street, Darlington, admitted to downloading thousands of grossly offensive photographs and videos after they were discovered on his computer.

The 39-year-old bowed his head in the dock after accepting three counts of making indecent images of a child and a single charge of possessing extreme pornographic images involving animals.

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Reviews of the images found on Davies’ computer are believed to date from downloads between September 2009 to November 2016.

Of the evidence recovered by police, 755 pictures and videos were accepted to be grossly offensive category A material, while a further 870 were category B and 3,754 were identified as falling into category C.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court heard on Thursday that a remaining 127 extreme pornographic still or moving images involved animals.

Joanne Hesse, prosecuting, said: “There’s a large number of category A images and videos – which is the highest category – found on the defendant’s computer, aggravated by the amount on there.

“There is still some images yet to be categorised. It was a large amount.”

Davies, who wore a black suit, grey tie and white shirt in court, spoke only to confirm his guilty pleas, name, address and date of birth during a five-minute hearing.

He was supported by friends and family sitting in the court’s public gallery.

Tom Morgan, mitigating, confirmed he would not be making any representations to magistrates during the hearing.

Davies will now make his next court appearance at Teesside Crown Court where he will be sentenced for making and the possession of 5,506 indecent images.

Chairman of the bench, Alastair White, addressed Davies and said: “You’ve pleaded guilty to this offence, but our sentencing powers are not such that we can deal with them.”

The magistrate also warned the 39-year-old that he would be arrested again should he fail to turn arrive at crown court.

He added: “You’re on unconditional bail – if you don’t go to court on the agreed date then the police will pick you up.”

A date was not set by magistrates for Davies’ next court appearance in Middlesbrough, however it is expected to be agreed within a month.