A MAN who owned hundreds of indecent images of children has been sentenced at Chester Magistrates Court.

Matthew David Baldwin, 21, of Hinderton Road, Tranmere, had previously admitted possessing the indecent images on his computer.

The offences dates from between October 2015 and February 2018, when Baldwin was living in Ellesmere Port.

Prosecuting, Jonathon Wilkinson said Baldwin's laptop was seized by police and two indecent images were found to be in 'category B' – the second-worst category, with a further 237 indecent images in 'category C' – the third-worst category.

One of the category B indecent images involved a naked girl aged seven or eight with an adult, while category C images involved sex acts on 13-year-olds.

Baldwin had no previous convictions.

Defending, Steven McHugh said while Baldwin's guilty plea to the charges only came on the day of trial, he had indicated a guilty plea a week earlier than that.

Several of the indecent images were duplicated, meaning there were 189 different category C images.

The offending had taken place when Baldwin was as young as 16 and there was a "realistic prospect of rehabilitation".

Magistrates said the custody threshold for the offences had not been passed.

Baldwin was handed a 24-month community order, to include 15 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement and the Horizon programme.

He was placed on the sex offenders register for five years and made the subject of a five-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Baldwin was also fined £240 and ordered to pay court costs of £500 and a victim surcharge of £85.

The laptop was to be forfeited and destroyed.