A former university health and safety advisor, jailed for exchanging child abuse images online, is back behind bars after failing to declare devices capable of accessing the internet.

Jeffrey Mein received a 32-month prison sentence at Newcastle Crown Court in April 2022, after admitting distribution of, and three counts of making, indecent images of children, plus possession of prohibited child images.

He also admitted other offences of voyeurism and possessing extreme pornography.

The court was told a collection of more than 400 images, some moving, featuring children as young as six being sexually abused by adults, were found on his phone and personal computer.

He admitted having shared many with like-minded individuals online over a four-year period.

The former Durham University health and safety worker, who lost his job when the offending came to light, was said to have no prior convictions.

As part of the sentence in 2022, he was made subject to registration as a sex offender and restrictions over his internet use under the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO), both to run for ten years.

But the now 60-year-old defendant, of Cochrane Terrace, Ferryhill, appeared at Durham Crown Court, by video link from nearby HMP Durham, having admitted two counts of breaching the SHPO.

The Northern Echo: Sex offender Jeffrey Mein facing a further jail term when he is sentenced at Durham Crown Court

Ellen Wright, prosecuting, said under the terms of the SHPO, "among other things", Mein had to inform police of the use of any remote storage or internet-enabled device.

A detective supervising the defendant’s compliance with the order said the terms had been made clear to him, but on January 17 she made a risk management visit to his address and identified he was using a USB stick in a laptop which he had not registered with the police.

The Northern Echo:

Following that discovery, a more extensive search was carried out and eight more USB sticks were found, three located in a glasses case in a living room cabinet.

Seven more SD memory cards, 11 micro SD memory cards, five external hard drives and an internet-enabled mobile phone were also located around the property.

Miss Wright said Mein was arrested and admitted breaching the SHPO, having failed to disclose the seized items to his supervising officer.

He said he received them from his wife who had been given them by police at the conclusion of the earlier investigation into the 2022 offences.

Mein admitted having failed to produce them for examination or disclosing he had them.

Martin Towers, representing Mein, said as a result of the police find the defendant has been recalled to prison to serve part of the outstanding period of his 32-month sentence.

Following the outcome of the latest hearing, the exact time still to be served by Mein, from the unserved element of the previous sentence, will be confirmed.

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Judge Jo Kidd said she would need to know if any of the recently seized items contained indecent images before sentencing him for, “harbouring this collection of digital storage devices”.

She said she would also like to know how many were among the devices seized in the initial investigation, before the 2022 conviction.

Adjourning the sentencing hearing for the breaches until March 25, she told Mein the outcome of those inquiries, “may make a significant difference” to the sentence he receives and the length of his recall to prison.