A COUPLE who hosted a depraved online chat room room to show child sexual abuse footage have been jailed.

Marc Burton, 38, and John Harrison, 32, who were in a relationship, played category A content, the most severe, during online sessions with other perverts.

The duo also talked about abusing children as young as babies as the footage was played to other child sex offenders.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: “The sophistication of the operation is sickening.

“It shows a persistent and determined operation to encourage others to view the abuse of utterly vulnerable children.

“Child abuse images are not a victimless crime. These are real children who have suffered horrific ordeals.”

Burton was arrested in November 2017 at his home in Jarrow, when National Crime Agency officers seized his electronic devices and found electronic scales, snap bags, 9.83g of MDMA and 45.81g of cannabis resin.

His devices contained 1,125 Category A abuse images and videos, 468 Category B and 381 Category C.

He admitted possession with intent to supply Class A and B drugs.

Harrison was arrested on the same day at his home in Walker, Newcastle.

NCA officers seized his devices and also recovered .42g of MDMA and 2.53g of cannabis resin.

His devices contained 576 Category A images and videos, 258 Category B and 945 Category C.

He admitted possession of Class A and B drugs.

Both men admitted possession of child abuse material, distributing Category A and B child sexual abuse material, and encouraging/assisting the distribution of child sexual abuse material.

At Newcastle Crown Court, on Thursday, both men were jailed for two years and eight months.

Both were also made to sign the sex offenders’ register for life and given 15-year sexual harm prevention orders.

Graham Ellis, NCA senior investigating officer, said: “Burton and Harrison and men like them are fuelling the scourge of child sexual abuse.”