A pervert who claimed he was collecting child abuse images to help the police has narrowly avoided being immediately locked up.

Adam Ian Dunn was caught with sickening videos of pictures of children as young as one being sexually abused.

The 29-year-old’s home was raided by police following a tip-off about his online activities where he was able to access the disturbing images through a shared group of like-minded men.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Dunn told the probation service that he was saving the images in an attempt to help police investigate child abuse but he had made full admission when arrested.

Rachel Butt, prosecuting, said: “Two mobile phones were seized from the defendant, indecent images were found in the download folder and screenshot folder.

“The ages of the children ranged from one to 12.”

Miss Butt said the defendant was of previous good character and had no previous convictions.

Dunn, of Eden Crescent, Darlington, pleaded guilty to possession of 18 Category A images and videos; possession of 15 Category B images and videos; and possession of 38 Category C images between January 2021 and March of the same year.

Kelleigh Lodge, mitigating, said her client was genuinely sorry for his actions and had stayed out trouble since his arrest.

“These offences were quite some time ago and there has been no further offending.

“He is genuinely sorry for the offending that has taken place. He is aware that the Category A offence does attract a prison sentence,” she said.

“The images disgusted him and he is deeply ashamed of his behaviour.”

Judge Richard Bennett sentenced Dunn to 12 months in custody suspended for two years.

He said: “These images were created in January and March, shortly before the police came to your address and you were arrested.

“You admitted you were part of a group sharing this type of material but there was no evidence of you sharing any.

See more court stories from The Northern Echo by clicking here

Get all the latest crime and court updates, for less than the price of a coffee, with a Premium Plus digital subscription to The Northern Echo. Special offer currently in place for £5 for 5 months. Click here

“Each of these images is not just a photograph, it is a child being sexually abused by an adult. Every share of this images is another abuse of them.

“I do not accept you collected the material to help police in their investigations.”

Dunn was ordered to sign on the sex offenders’ register for ten years and made subject of a sexual harm prevention order for the same period of time.

He was also ordered to attend 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days to address his behaviour and carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.