A pervert who amassed more than 100,000 sickening child abuse images over a 20-year period has walked free from court.

Steven Hobson catalogued the disturbing images across 266 volumes of computer discs between December 2003 and February 2022.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 46-year-old immediately admitted to police that he had a huge horde of child sexual abuse images when they raided his North Yorkshire home.

Nigel Soppitt, prosecuting, said the defendant had been collecting and storing the images for 20 years and had a substantial amount stored on a computer disc.

He said: “He made significant statements to the police; he said there will be a lot of it but I don’t send it to anyone.”

The court heard how Hobson started looking at the images in his early 20s and searched for pre-teens.

He added: “Somewhat alarmingly, he had a disc marked with a Y for young containing indecent images.

“He said he had filled the hard drive on his computer, so it needed backing up onto discs.

“The discs were all neatly catalogued going up to 266 volumes.”

Mr Soppitt said officers analysed the defendant’s computer system and recovered thousands more images that were not included in the charges he faced, which meant he had access to more than 100,000 images.

Hobson, of Market Place, Richmond pleaded guilty to downloading 6,466 images and videos in category A, the most serious offence; 3,519 in category B; 54,641 in category C; and 49 extreme pornographic images and videos.

Jonathan Walker, mitigating, said his client had been honest and frank with the police following his arrest in February 2022.

He told the judge that Hobson had worked with officers to address his offending and urged him to pass a suspended sentence to enable him to continue his efforts.

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Recorder Andrew Sutcliffe KC sentenced Hobson to 20-months in prison suspended for two years.

“I regard the sheer volume as an aggravating feature of these offences,” he said. “There is no doubt these offences cross the custody threshold for immediate imprisonment and the reason they do so is because your motivation was to gain sexual gratification by viewing indecent images.”

Hobson was also ordered to attend 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days and perform 100 hours of unpaid work.

He was issued with a ten-year sexual harm prevention order and told to sign on the sex offenders’ register for the same period of time.