A COUNCIL landscape architect who downloaded thousands of indecent images of children to his computer has escaped a jail sentence.

Chris Anniss accessed sites such as ‘paedo book’ and ‘paedo board’.

But after hearing how the 52-year-old had taken steps to tackle his problem, Judge Douglas Field imposed a suspended sentence telling him, “It’s not an easy option.”

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how Anniss was snared as a result of investigations in the United States of America.

He said they had cracked a secretive part of the internet which was used to supply indecent images of movies of children “Wiltshire Police received information that US law enforcement had gained access to a server used to access the network anonymously,” Mr Meeke said.

“This server supplied indecent images of children and allowed users of to circulate, upload and distribute them.

“The US authorities were able to supply to UK authorities details of UK users. One was this defendant. Measures had been taken to disguise the internet protocol address of the user,” Mr Meeke said.

He said police armed with a search warrant went to his home in January last year and confiscated several computers.

Police found 10,455 live images and movies of child sex abuse, the majority of the victims being under 13.

Officers also found nine prohibited images of children and 21 of extreme pornography involving adults and animals.

Anniss, of Brunswick Street, Old Town, admitted making and possessing indecent images of children, having extreme pornography and prohibited images of children.

Mark Sharman, defending, said his client was aware he had a problem with addiction to pornography at the time of the offending and had been seeking to tackle it.

“He has done what he can to try and help himself.

“He is a professional man. He is very well educated and has a number of degrees, not surprisingly he has not been in trouble before."

Passing sentence Judge Douglas Field said: “You have recognised that you have these problems and in my judgement there is a good chance that you can be rehabilitated.

“This is an opportunity to deal with this deep seated problem of yours. It is not an easy option. It will be for two years.”

The judge jailed him for eight months suspended for two years, told him to register as a sex offender for two years and imposed a sexual offences prevention order restricting his liberty.