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Thanet man John Hobbs donated child porn computer to Scouts

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Canterbury Crown Court
Canterbury Crown Court

A Kent man who downloaded child pornography later gave a computer to a local scout group, a court heard.

When police examined the PC after arresting John Hobbs, they found a number of indecent images. When added to images found on a laptop seized from the same man, it amounted to over 1,000 indecent pictures of children up to and including the most serious level.

Hobbs, 61, of Quex View Road, Birchington, appeared at Canterbury Crown Court for sentence having admitted 20 charges of making or possessing indecent images between May 2004 and October 2008.

He was sentenced to 48 weeks, suspended for two years with a condition he attends a sex offender treatment programme and is supervised for the next two years.

He will be subject of a sex offences prevention order for five years and his computer equipment is forfeited.

Edmund Fowler, prosecuting, said Hobbs was trapped after police traced him through a website he accessed and searched his home in August 2008. A Dell laptop and two memory sticks were taken away as well as an A4 print out of four indecent images.

He had recently passed a computer to a local scout group and this was also seized.

In total there were 1,413 images at level one, 172 at level 2, 218 at level 3, 234 at level four and 14 at level five.

In interview, Hobbs said he was an arbitary downloader of pornography and was addicted to it and did not take steps to prevent any accidental downloading of child images. He had seen computer pop-ups on his screen of children but his interests lay elsewhere. He thought the print outs were of adults over 18.

Spoken to again after the computer from the scouts had been examined, he admitted he had downloaded such items but could not explain why he had stored some of the images. He said he thought they had been deleted before he gave the machine to the scouts.

Hobbs had no previous convictions and his lawyer, Nicholas Jones said although there were a large number of images, there was no evidence of distribution and since his arrest, Hobbs had voluntarily sought help with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, a child protection charity and self funded sessions with a psychiatrist.

He said Hobbs was motivated to tackle his problem and if he was to be given a second chance, he would ensure he did not appear in court again. He had been assessed at low risk of re-offending.

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