A MAN caught with almost 10,000 indecent images of children has been jailed for 15 months.

Mark Roberts was told by a judge yesterday that the sickening collection was so vast that a suspended prison sentence could not be passed.

The 59-year-old's home in Redcar was raided in December 2014 after police learned he had been viewing illegal photos and videos online and downloading them.

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Officers seized an iPhone and an Apple "time capsule" and found 9,305 images of child abuse - including 56 in the most serious category - but many were not examined because of the sheer volume, prosecutor Harry Hadfield told Teesside Crown Court.

"There was a very large amount of images, but the Crown can't say they contain indecent photographs of children," Mr Hadfield told Judge Simon Hickey.

"There had also been some suggestion that he had been emailing images to himself."

When Roberts was first interviewed, he said he had no knowledge of the emails, and claimed his credit card might have been "compromised" and his systems had been hacked into, said Mr Hadfield.

After the devices were examined, he could not account for the pictures and videos, but admitted using them.

The court heard how he was given a caution in 2006 for taking photographs up the skirts of women.

The images of child abuse included a five-year-old being raped, Judge Hickey was told.

Robert Mochrie, mitigating, said Roberts had made a "genuine and serious" attempt on his life after his arrest, and found it difficult to come to terms with his shame.

"That speaks volumes as to the impact that his own offending behaviour has had upon him," Mr Mochrie said.

"This type of offending is something where, Your Honour may agree, the offender sometimes takes time to come to terms with heat they have done.

"He has struggled to come to terms with admitting what he had done, through fear of losing his long-term partner."

Roberts, of Kirkwood Drive, Redcar, admitted three charges of making indecent images and one of possessing extreme pornography.

He was put on the sex offenders' register for ten years, and given Sexual Harm Prevention Order restricting his computer and internet use.

Judge Hickey told him: "If there had not been such a vast amount of photographs, and taking into account the pre-sentence report I have read, I could have suspended such a sentence.

"There were a large number of victims.

"They will only be victimised if people like yourself view these images."