A self-confessed Shrewsbury paedophile shared images of child pornography online “like Pokemon cards”, a court heard.
Darren Loynton, 35, of Westbury Road, Heath Farm, had 285 photographs of child abuse which he exchanged with the 1,500 followers of his Twitter account, Shrewsbury Crown Court was told.
The 35-year old was caught when West Mercia Police searched his home on June 28 after being notified by the child exploitation and online protection organisation that a computer in Shrewsbury was being used to distribute indecent images of children.
Mr Robert Edwards, prosecuting, said that examination by police showed that his computer had been used to search keywords relating to child pornography and chat logs were found between Loynton and other persons with an interest in viewing similar images.
There were also 1,271 images on his computer which, although not illegal to possess, were “indicative of an interest in children” and Mr Edwards said that according to police they were family-type photos that had likely been uploaded to social media sites.
Mr Edwards said that in police interview Loynton “referred to himself as a paedophile” and told police he had a particular interest of girls between the ages of 13 and 16.
Mr Edwards added: “He began the interview by saying he wanted to touch young females between the ages of 13 and 16.”
He said Loynton told the police he kept a Twitter account with around 1,500 followers who also had an interest in viewing indecent images of children and they would share them.
“He traded pictures of children of an indecent nature as if he was trading Pokemon cards,” said Mr Edwards.
“He explained that he shared images by way of exchange where he kept a library and other users could pick images which he would exchange for images they had in their online library.”
Loynton admitted a charge of possessing indecent images and two charges of distributing the images when he appeared at Telford Magistrates Court on July 12. He appeared at the crown court yesterday for sentencing.
Mr Stephen Scully, for Loynton, said his client had been struggling since the death of his mother but that he had “no desire whatsoever to go ahead with some of his fantasies”.
Sentencing, Judge Peter Barrie, said: “The seriousness of this case comes from what you did with the images.”
Loynton was given an eight-month jail sentence suspended for two years, a rehabilitation activity requirement of 60 days and ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.
He was also put under a sexual harm behaviour order and notification order for 10 years and would be prevented from working with children.
He will pay costs of £250 plus a victim surcharge.