A YOUNG man who had a troubled background has been given a chance to turn his life around after being caught with more than 45,000 indecent images of children.

Ethan Demitri Chapman's vile collection was described as 'disgusting' and 'deplorable' when he appeared at Teesside Crown Court.

The judge heard how his Darlington home was raided by police in August 2018 following a tip-off after officers discovered 36,186 category A, 8,831 category B and 634 category C images, stashed away in secret folders on his laptop and smartphone.

The 20-year-old amassed his collection of child sexual abuse images between October 2015 and August 2018.

Rachel Masters, prosecuting, said when he was arrested Chapman refused to be interviewed by the police.

She said: "The aggravating factors are the high volume of images found and the fact the images were found in an inaccessible area of the digital devices in a clear attempt to conceal them."

Chapman, formerly of Swallow Close, Darlington, pleaded guilty to three charges of making indecent images.

Aisha Wadoodi, mitigating, said her client's upbringing had been 'extremely difficult' and urged the judge to not to imprison him.

She told the court that the 20-year-old had grown up surrounded by 'drugs, violence and domestic violence' before being sent away to London by his father when he 'came out as gay'.

It was that point that he started to use dating apps such as Grindr and became involved with older men, she said.

"This is a boy of 20 who has never had any type of boundaries between what is right and wrong," she said. "I think it was very easy to be drawn into this world and be exploited by people who are far more sophisticated than him."

Judge Paul Watson QC told Chapman his 'deplorable' actions had brought disgrace on himself and his family and caused 'humiliation' to the victims of the crime.

"I regard these of being offences of the most serious kind," he said. "I take the view that a custodial sentence is inevitable."

Chapman was given a nine-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered to attend 35 rehabilitation activity requirement days to address his offending.

The Costa coffee worker, who now lives in London with his paternal grandmother, was also issued with a sexual harm prevention order for five years.

Speaking after the hearing, an NSPCC Spokesperson said: “The staggering volume of images in Chapman’s collection highlights just how many children are being abused to create this appalling material, for the gratification of offenders like Chapman.

“Anyone accessing these images and videos is fuelling the demand for more children to suffer the most horrendous abuse.”