A young pervert who downloaded sickening child abuse images has walked free from court.

Billy Hedges was arrested when police raided his Stockton home following information about his online activities.

The 24-year-old’s mobile phone was seized and officers recovered 32 images and videos of children being sexually abused, including one of a child being raped.

Jonathan Gittins, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court that the images were found on the defendant’s iPhone 12.

He said: “The officers discovered that there had been a factory reset on the phone on December 22, 2021.

“He said he had used various social media applications but never used them for getting indecent images of children.

“He told them he had downloaded them and he said he wanted to share them with police but got scared as he didn’t think they would believe him.”

Hedges, now of Lever Street, London, pleaded guilty to possession of three Category A images; possession of ten Category B images; and possession of 19 Category C images, following the raid on his home on February 24, 2022.

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Tabitha Buck, mitigating, told the judge that her client now accepts that he was responsible for downloading the images and no longer maintained that he only did it to help police investigations.

Judge Howard Crowson made Hedges the subject of a three-year community order and ordered him to carry out an approved course specifically designed to address sexually offending after he was caught with child abuse images.

He added: “Every time one of these images is created, harm is caused to a child but also every time these images are shared the harm is repeated.”

Hedges was placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years, made subject of a sexual harm prevention order for the same period and ordered to attend 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.