A SIXTY-year-old Cleator Moor man had a secret collection of sickening indecent child images – including one featuring a two-year-old being abused.

John Eyre initially denied any wrongdoing – but then admitted his guilt after police confronted him with evidence of what they found on his computer and his Samsung mobile phone - more than 400 abuse images, including a child who was "tied down."

Most showed children aged between four and six.

There was also evidence that Eyre visited chat-rooms to discuss his perverted interest in such images with other “like-minded people”, prosecutor Gerard Rogerson told Carlisle Crown Court.

The defendant, of Clayton Avenue, Cleator Moor, pleaded guilty to four offences: three allegations of downloading indecent child images and one charge of possessing 22 prohibited images of children.

Outlining the case, Mr Rogerson said police visited the defendant after receiving a tip-off.

The indecent images were all downloaded or collected over a six-month period between September 2019 and March the following year.

“Images were discovered across two devices,” said Mr Rogerson.

These were a desk computer and a Samsung mobile phone. In total, there were 417 illegal child images: 149 classed as the most serious Category A images; 86 of Category B; and a further 182 defined as Category C.

The defendant also had 22 prohibited child images.

Mr Rogerson said: “One image appears to involve a child being tied down… the age range of the children depicted ranges from two-years-old to nine years old, although the police office’s analysis shows that predominantly the age range of female children is four to six years of age.”

When police arrived at Eyre’s home on March 6 last year, they found evidence he had searched for child abuse images as recently as two hours earlier.

When questioned, he claimed the images came as a “bolt from the blue.”

“At the end of the interview, he denied downloading indecent images,” said Mr Rogerson. Yet when shown the evidence, he finally pleaded guilty. There was also evidence, said Mr Rogerson, that Eyre visited chatrooms and social media sites to seek out people who shared his interest and recommended websites.

Judge Simon Medland QC told Eyre: “The age of consent in the UK and widely across the world is 16. It’s set at 16 for a good reason.

“Children under 16 have a right to be treated as children and a right not to be treated as sexual objects for the gratification of men in their private time… Your interest in [the images] perpetuates what is a disgusting and destructive trade.

"These are images of real children, really being abused.”

But the judge felt there was a “reasonable prospect” for Eyre to reform. He imposed an eight-month jail term, suspending this for two years. Eyre must complete 30 days of rehabilitation.

He will be on the Sex Offender Register for a decade. He is also subject to a sexual harm prevention order, which usually prohibits unsupervised contact with any child.