Portsmouth church-goer, 70, had 2,291 images of child abuse

Christopher Bell was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court
Christopher Bell was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court

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A 70-YEAR-OLD was caught with more than 2,200 indecent images of children at his home after an investigation by police in Canada.

British officers were alerted to Christopher Bell’s criminal activities by the Toronto police department.

The Canadian police force said Bell, of Drayton, had been identified as someone who had bought DVDs containing indecent images of children, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.

A total of 2,291 images of boys – some as young as 11 – were found by officers following a search of his home.

Of those, 2,236 were classed as ‘category C’ – the least serious category –and 41 were ‘category B.’

Three images were ‘category A’ – the most serious category.

Bell admitted four counts of making an indecent photograph of a child and three of possessing an indecent image of a child. The court heard that Bell confirmed to police he had been downloading indecent images of children for sexual gratification.

Rebecca Austin, defending, said: ‘This is a man who when police knocked on his door and identified why they were there he not only fully complied with the police, but he went further than that and showed them where the material was likely to be stored.’

Miss Austin said Bell was an active member of the church and community but had lost ‘what little social contact he had’ due to his crimes.

Judge Peter Dixon Crabtree sentenced Bell, of Havant Road, Drayton, Portsmouth, to a three-year community order and put him under supervision for three years.

He must take part in an offender treatment programme and pay £350 costs.

Bell, who is of previous good character, committed the offences between June 2011 and January 2014.

He has had to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register and was made subject to a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

An order was made for the images and associated equipment seized to be forfeited and destroyed.

Addressing Bell, Judge Crabtree said: ‘The images were made or possessed over a period of two-and-a-half years.

‘You clearly had a sexual interest in young males which resulted in material being downloaded and possessed on a regular basis.’