A SEXUAL deviant who was caught with more than 27,000 child sex abuse images and videos has been jailed for almost four years.

Anthony Harrison stayed at his elderly parents' home to use their laptop to download the 'filth' onto a memory stick before transferring the images to his own laptop when he returned home.

The 55-year-old was arrested after police carried out a routine inspection of his electrical devices after he went missing from his registered address, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Phillip Morley, prosecuting, said the convicted sex offender had stayed at his parents' Newton Aycliffe home for six or seven days without notifying the authorities of his whereabouts.

Harrison told officers they would find indecent images on his laptop and on a number of memory sticks.

The Northern Echo: Anthony HarrisonAnthony Harrison

Mr Morely said there was more than 500 category A images; 3,000 category B and more than 24,000 category C images in Harrison's possession.

The defendant, of Ramsgill House, Darlington, pleaded guilty to four charges of possession of indecent images, failing to comply with his notification requirements and breaching the condition of his sexual harm prevention order (SHPO).

In mitigation, Robert Mochrie said his client had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and urged the judge to pass as short a sentence as possible.

The judge, Recorder Anthony Hawk, told Harrison he had a 'perverted interest in children' as he jailed him for a total of three years and ten months.

"You have a serious problem with an interest in paedophilia and, if that wasn't apparent from your offences, it is apparent from an examination of your criminal history," he said.

"The images depicted children between the ages of three and 15, of both sexes, and including penetrative activity with children as young as three.

"It's a very sad state of affairs. You don't need me to tell you because you have been told before, no doubt, that to say that 'all I was doing was looking at something that was already out there on the internet, so what harm have I done really?'

"You know that is not true because you know perfectly well that if it wasn't for people like you there wouldn't be a market for this sort of filth and by accessing it, you exasperate the market and you are indirectly involved in the gross abuse of very young children."