A computer expert granted clearance to analyse police computers has been jailed for 14 months after being caught with a huge stash of child pornography.
Joseph McCabe, 52, was working as an IT consultant for the Metropolitan Police Service at the time of his arrest.
He admitted possessing 33 films and more than 13,000 images at his former home in Bridge of Earn, Perthshire, which showed child sex abuse.
The force said it had dismissed him when the images were found.
Solicitor John Boyle, defending, said McCabe had “binge downloaded” massive consignments of child porn so he could view the images “at his leisure” later.
Mr Boyle told Perth Sheriff Court: “He found himself on a downward spiral. What had started as an interest in adult pornography quickly descended to these offences.”
He said McCabe admitted being interested in young girls posing naked, but claimed to find some of the images he had been sent “disgusting”.
However, Sheriff Michael Fletcher noted that more than 200 of the images and video clips were at the most extreme end of the scale and said he had no option but to jail McCabe.
The married father-of-two had been downloading the images throughout the period he had been working for the Met Police human resources department as an IT consultant, the court heard.
McCabe admitted possessing the material at his family home between 10 March 2008 and 15 April 2010.
A spokesman for the Met Police said: “I can confirm that an external contractor, briefly employed by the MPS for two months, was arrested by Tayside Police.
“The contractor worked in human resources as an administrator. The contractor no longer works for the MPS.”
McCabe has also previously worked for Perth and Kinross, and Highland councils as an education officer and would have had computer access to the personal details of thousands of children in both regions.
A spokesman for Perth and Kinross Council said: “We can confirm that this person is not currently employed by the council, and was not employed by the council at the time of the alleged offences.”
McCabe was placed on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.