Covertly filmed footage of women using toilets plus indecent images of children were found among material uncovered when police seized numerous electronic devices from a man's home in Durham.

Police removed 80 devices, including lap-tops, hard drives, memory sticks and phones from the bedroom of David Ian Wales, during police visits to his home in Sherburn Road Flats in Gilesgate, on both February 24 and then October 1, last year.

Durham Crown Court heard examination revealed the various devices contained more than 11,800 indecent images of children, 585 in the most serious category, downloaded between September 2009 and September 27, last year.

Caroline McGurk, prosecuting, said the illicit material featured children aged between two and 15 being abused, some in discernible pain and others apparently drugged, and included more than 100 hours of moving footage.

The Northern Echo: David Wales, jailed for total of two years and ten months for making incident images of children,

Miss McGurk said there were also a collection of extreme pornographic images featuring scenes of bestiality.

Terms used by the defendant were indicative of paedophilic searches, with some of the material saved on an external hard-drive and memory sticks, indicating, “a high-level of personal interest.”

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Miss McGurk said the October search led to discovery of the voyeuristic images obtained between October 2008 and October 2021.

When initially interviewed, Wales denied seeking the material, but claimed the computer would direct him to indecent child image sites without his permission.

Asked about the discovery of a CD marked ‘Jail Bait’, Wales claimed he found in on the street.

Upon being further interviewed, after the October raid, Wales denied having set up covert cameras to film females using the toilet and claimed he only searched for adult pornography on the internet.

When shown some of the material recovered, he changed his story as to how it was obtained, but ultimately admitted covertly filming some of the women using the toilet for his own sexual gratification.

In a later interview about the youngsters featured on the indecent images he claimed they would appear to have been in the 16 to 19 bracket and he could not recall any aged between two and 15.

Asked why he sought them out, he said it was “out of stupidity” and he denied having a sexual interest in children but asked how it could have gone on for more than a decade, he admitted being “hooked” on them.

Appearing at a plea hearing at the court last month, the 45-year-old defendant admitted three counts of making indecent images of children, one of possessing extreme pornography, two of voyeurism and two of attempted voyeurism.

But at previous hearings he also admitted four counts of burglary, all relating to the digs of female students in Durham, in three cases when they were away between terms, earlier this year.

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The court was told in the break-ins he stole vinyl records, a mobile phone, a camera, and a computer containing valuable work completed by the victim.

But he also stole female underwear at one of the targeted properties, “unnerving” the victim when she later discovered what was mising.

Tony Davis, in mitigation, conceded the pre-sentence probation report considered the defendant poses, “a high-risk” of re-offend, given that the various offences were committed over a long-period during which he went undetected.

But Mr Davis said since his offending came to light the defendant has been able to demonstrate he could remain offence free without having access to the internet.

Mr Davis said the defendant has “significant health issues” which would need addressing in custody if given an immediate prison sentence.

Judge James Adkin said having read some of the impact statements it was clear the defendant has caused his victims, “great anxiety and distress”.

The judge said the offending has taken different forms over a long time, albeit the defendant was previously unconvicted.

He imposed a total prison sentence of 34 months and made the defendant subject of the terms of a Sexual Harm Protection Order as well as registration as a sex offender, both for seven years.

The judge also ordered that all the seized devices and material should be forfeited and destroyed.

Following the hearing, Oriana Frame, of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) North East, said: “David Wales was a prolific collector of indecent imagery featuring children.

"Some of the material recovered by police was incredibly extreme, showing distressed or drugged children.

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"His own voyeuristic attempts to film women in states of undress and his theft of women’s underwear also indicated a disturbing range of sexual interests.

“The Crown Prosecution Service has worked closely with Durham Police to build a robust case against David Wales, leaving him little alternative but to plead guilty to the significant list of charges against him.

"We sincerely hope that the sentencing of Wales provides some measure of comfort to his victims.”