A HAMPSHIRE man who viewed sex abuse images of children as young as ten has been given a community order.

Clive Anthony Cooper used both his home and work computers to access the images, which also included one movie at category A.

The Sentencing Council state that category A offences include "penetrative activity" as well as activity involving "an animal or sadism".

Basingstoke Magistrates' Court heard on Tuesday that the 59-year-old had used the TOR browser, a way of browsing the web without giving away your identity, to access the images on both his home and work computers.

Prosecutor Kerry Richardson said that the offences were "pre-meditated".

"Mr Cooper specifically sought out child pornography," she told the court.

"He was using the TOR browser to conceal his identity. The child in the photographs are as young as 10 years of age."

However, she conceded that since his arrest, he has "expressed remorse" and entered guilty pleas.

Passing sentence, District Judge Timothy Pattinson decided that he would depart from his sentencing guidelines, which would have offered a starting point of one year in prison.

He said that there was a "reasonable prospect of rehabilitation", and gave credit for an early guilty plea, imposing an 18-month community order instead.

However, District Judge Pattinson warned Cooper, of Ively Road in Farnborough: "If there is any breach of the order, you can come back to court and be resentenced, which could possibly be a prison sentence."

As part of the order, he will have to complete 30 days worth of rehabilitation activity days, as well as pay a victim surcharge and costs, both £85.

A five-year sexual harm prevention order was also put in place, whilst his personal computer was taken away.

He must now notify the authorities if he buys or uses a device with internet access.

Reacting to the sentence, the NSPCC said: "By accessing this inexcusable material, Cooper has helped to fuel an appalling industry that thrives on inflicting pain and suffering on children.

“This problem cannot be solved by law enforcement alone - it is imperative that tech companies commit extra resources to prevent this material being shared, and to ensure it is removed as soon it appears online.”

  • Anyone who is concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000. Children and young people can call Childline on 0800 1111 or get help online via www.childline.org.uk.