A HAMPSHIRE police constable has avoided being sent to prison after he downloaded child abuse images of youngsters as young as one year old on to his phone.

Jed Osmond, 28, of Binstead Road, Kings Barton, pleaded guilty at Winchester Crown Court to possessing 42 category A images, 65 category B photos and 23 category C.

The court heard that police attended his home after receiving information, and a search of his Samsung mobile phone found the images in cache folders.

The photos featured children aged between one and six years old.

Judge Adam Feest KC sentenced him to 13 months in prison suspended for 18 months.

He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work, 35 rehabilitation days, and the judge ordered the destruction of his phone.

The court heard that by entering guilty pleas Osmond would be immediately dismissed from his job as a police officer.

Judge Feest told Osmond, who was a probationary officer when he viewed the images between September 2020 and a year later, that he was not sending him to prison because he had shown remorse and because of the “state of the prison population”.

He said: “You downloaded images of children being raped and sexually abused because that’s what these images are.

“You are now 28, you were of good character which is something you will no longer be able to claim.

“And through your own fault you have lost your employment, that I do not regard as punishment because you brought it upon yourself.”

He added: “Bearing in mind the prospects of rehabilitation I can mark these offences with a suspended sentence.

“I take into account the remorse you have shown, the mitigation I have heard and the state of the prison population.

“The fact that you were a probationary police officer at the time I do take as an aggravating feature.”

In a statement Deputy Chief Constable Sam De Reya, of Hampshire Constabulary, said: “Jed Osmond was caught in possession of more than 100 indecent images of children.

“Not only is this a very serious criminal offence, it is also morally reprehensible.

“This was a deliberate act, and one he waited until late in the court process to admit.

“Our main duty, as police officers, is to protect the public, in particular the most vulnerable and children.

“At an accelerated misconduct hearing last month, Osmond was dismissed from the force.

“His conduct could not be further removed from that expected of a police officer, both by the public and each of his colleagues.“The internet child abuse team carried out a full and thorough investigation into the matter when it was reported, leaving Osmond no choice but to plead guilty to this in the end, with our professional standards department reviewing this throughout and taking swift steps to ensure he was removed from our organisation at the earliest possible opportunity.”