A MAN has avoided being sent to prison after he was found with thousands of indecent images of children.

Nathan Dunville had more than 3,000 images and videos, with some involving children as young as two.

Recorder Eric Lamb told the 35-year-old, of Meadow Grove, Northwich, despite his obvious sexual interest in children, he had a chance to be rehabilitated as he handed him a suspended prison sentence.

Michael Whitty, prosecuting, told Chester Crown Court on Monday, May 16, how police had carried out a search warrant at Dunville’s address on February 11, 2021.

“Various items of computer equipment were seized, including a Samsung smartphone and a hard drive,” he said.

“Traces of images being deleted from the computer were found, there were still around 2000 visible on the Samsung phone.”

In total, police found 427 images and six videos in the most serious category, 644 and three videos in category B and 1,737 and 15 videos in the lower category.

The images and videos had all been downloaded over an extended period of time between 2007 and 2020, which was acknowledged as being an aggravating feature.

Patrick Williamson, defending, said his client had shown remorse and was willing to work with the probation service.

He said: “It clearly crosses the custody threshold.

“There are a number of aggravating features, including the period over which the offending took place, as well as the estimated age of some of the children, with the youngest being just two.

“However, he is a man of previously good character and will fully comply with any programme that is asked of him.

“He lost his job as a result of this conviction but has recently secured work as a courier.”

Recorder Lamb said only a custodial sentence would be appropriate as he jailed Dunville for 12 months but suspended that for a period of 18 months.

“What you did was to seek out a huge number of images over a number of years,” he said.

“The subjects of these images were as young as two and there is nobody who could not fail to be appalled.

“This is not a victimless crime.

“The pre-sentence report and your previous good character means the balance falls in favour of rehabilitation.

“I will impose a sexual harm prevention order that will prevent further offending in the future.”

The sexual harm prevention order will be in place for 10 years and he must complete a 27-day programme as well as 30 rehabilitative days.