A POLICEMAN has been jailed after thousands of photos of children being abused were found on his computer.
Gary Prince, from Prinsted Walk, in Fareham, was found guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court of eight charges relating to child abuse.
They included three counts of possession of indecent images of a child, three counts of distribution of indecent images of a child, one count of taking indecent images of a child and one count of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.
Prince, 49, pleaded guilty at an earlier trial to the eight offences, which ranged from 2008 until 2012.
Prince had been stationed at Fareham as a police officer in Hampshire Constabulary.
He resigned from the police a number of days after he was arrested.
None of the offences took place during his role as a police officer.
The court heard that he was caught by an online investigation, which discovered his online profiles.
DI Richard Wheeler of the Hampshire Police Paedophile Online Investigation Team said: ‘It’s important that police officers are subject to the same legal processes and scrutiny as anyone else. And as a complex multi-agency investigation, this was no exception.
‘Clearly, while none of the offences are linked to Prince’s role as a police officer, he was trusted by his colleagues and by the public and has let them down.
‘He resigned within days of his arrest.
‘We must remember that every one of the thousands of images in Prince’s possession was an image of a child being subjected to abuse.
‘The fact that Prince received a custodial sentence reflects the seriousness of the offending.’
Prince was sentenced to two years in prison for each of the first seven offences, to run at the same time, and also one year in prison for the last offence of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, totalling a three year jail term.
Prince was placed on the sex offenders register for life and banned from working with children indefinitely.