A Border Control officer has been jailed for 30 months – after downloading one of the largest hauls of indecent films seized in Kent.
Andrew Pratt, 47, downloaded more than 6,600 movies of child sex – many at the more serious levels – with a running time over more than TWO weeks, Canterbury Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor Simon Taylor told how officers had raided his home in Park Close, Hawkinge in April last year and seized computers and hard drives.
Pratt admitted downloading the 268,000 images from a file sharing site for more than two years which depicted victims as young as three.
He told officers: “It’s like an addiction. I don’t even look at most of them but it’s just an addiction. You try not to and then you are sort of enticed back and you hate yourself.
“It has almost become a way of life to me but I hate it but I need it.”
The court heard how he had started downloading images when he bought his first computer in 1997 – but had “become disgusted with himself” and had thrown the images away.
But later he joined a 30-strong group on the Internet who shared images with each other, the court heard.
Nicholas Jones, defending, said that Pratt, who had worked for the UK Border Agency, tried to commit suicide after his arrest.
“He is a broken man who has ruined his life as a result of his addiction to Internet pornography.”
Judge Adele Williams told him: “Those who download child pornography allow this evil trade to continue. There are real children being subjected to real sexual abuse in these images.
“Those who participate in this behaviour attract nothing but revulsion.”
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Sergeant David Shipley from the Child Exploitation Investigation Team at Kent Police comments: “Andrew Pratt had an astonishing quantity of material, which he appeared to be proud to share with like minded individuals.
“By making this material available to others, he encourages the ongoing abuse of children. People engaged in this behaviour have no concept or care for the suffering that is caused.
“Anyone in Kent also engaged in such behaviour can expect to be tracked down and brought to justice by the Public Protection Unit in Kent Police.”
Peter Davies, Chief Executive at CEOP: “This arrest was as a result of information received at the Centre from an international partner and the excellent work of Kent Police.
“It demonstrates once again that if you are making or disseminating child abuse material you will be found and you will be punished.
“CEOP has an extensive network of partners worldwide working with us to help make the internet a safer place for children and bring offenders like Andrew Pratt to justice.”
On release, Pratt will have a supervision requirement, be subject to a lifetime sexual offences prevention order and will have to sign on the sex offender’s register indefinitely.