A LUDGERSHALL man found in possession of thousands of indecent images of children will have to carry out unpaid work and rehabilitation activities.

Paul Howard Thomas appeared before Salisbury Magistrates’ Court on Monday where he was sentenced for possessing 2,733 category C images of a child.

These are ‘images of erotic posing’ that are the least serious of the three categories of juvenile indecent images.

Thomas had initially been charged with possessing almost 21,000 images, before that number was reduced to 2,733 at a previous hearing, because “thousands of the images were found in non-allocated clusters on his computer, where he was not able to access them,”according to the prosecutor.

The images were discovered after the death of a woman who the 47-year-old, of Andover Road, was dating, and his electronic equipment was handed back to him.

Magistrates gave Thomas a two-year community order, in which 40 days of rehabilitation activities and 210 hours of unpaid work must be carried out.

He was also given a five-year sexual harm prevention order, which will see him banned from using any device able to access internet unless it is able to retain history and the police are able to inspect it.

Thomas must also pay £85 in costs and a £95 victim surcharge.