A BASINGSTOKE man who was caught with thousands of vile images of children on his computer has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Paul Davies, of Alencon Link, was “addicted” to viewing indecent images and had been accessing the material since the late 1990s, Winchester Crown Court heard.

Barnaby Shaw, prosecuting, said the 47-year-old distributed images and movies of children being sexually abused to other “like-minded individuals”, and provided commentary about the “depravity, and the youth of the victims”, some of whom are thought to have been just a few months old.

Mr Shaw said: “He says he started off viewing these images by accident and is now addicted.

“He says he has very few limits when it comes to pornography.”

Davies was caught after police in Essex arrested a man who had been distributing indecent images.

They contacted Hampshire police after discovering that Davies was one of those the man had been communicating with on Skype.

Police visited Davies’ flat in Skyline Plaza, where he lives with his partner, and seized his computer which contained around 2,500 indecent images, of which 802 had been distributed to others.

Mr Shaw said they also discovered a peer-to-peer account with 108 images or movies available for other peer users to download.

Davies pleaded guilty to 28 counts of making and distributing indecent images.

Defending Davies, Sinead Willox said he was keen to seek help.

She said: “He is ashamed and disgusted. He does have a good understanding of the further work that can be done with him.”

She asked that he be given credit for his early guilty plea and added that his partner is standing by him and is “extremely supportive”.

Sentencing Davies, Nicholas Atkinson QC, said: “A child is abused and these images are a permanent record of that abuse. In all probability the abused child is permanently affected by what happened. Your viewing creates a demand.”

He said that he took into account Davies’ “obscene, depraved commentary” on the images when passing sentence.

He jailed Davies for two-and-a-half years, telling him he would serve half that sentence.

He also put in place a Sexual Offences Prevention Order until further notice and ordered Davies to sign the sex offenders register.