A FORMER Cub Scout leader has admitted downloading hundreds of indecent images of children – many at the most severe level.
But Arron Bark, 27, avoided jail after pleading guilty to 20 counts of making indecent images of girls aged approximately between 9 and 13.
Detective Constable Jane Tunnicliff of Sussex Police’s paedophile investigation team said: “The images we found were at all levels of seriousness and although there was no evidence of contact offending, it should be remembered that every such image is by definition an image of a child being sexually abused.”
Last Thursday, Lewes Crown Court was told Bark, of Lossenham Lane, Newenden, had downloaded the images between August 2008 and December 2009 while he was living in Eastbourne.
He was given a 12-month prison sentence – suspended for two years, required to sign as a registered sex offender for ten years, made subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, and ordered to attend a treatment programme.
The court heard the images – of which there were about 800 – were photographs or pseudo photographs but none involved local children and there was no evidence of any actual contact, in person or online, between Bark and the subjects of the images.
The offences came to light following a tip-off to Sussex Police and detectives swooped on his home in January last year – seizing computer equipment and printed images.
Bark was arrested on the same day, bailed, then charged with the offences in November 2010.
Detective Inspector Alison Eaton, who heads Sussex Police’s paedophile investigation team, said: “This sentence should send a clear message to others who think that online environments offer them anonymity. Everything leaves a digital footprint and perpetrators will be relentlessly pursued and brought to justice.”