A PAEDOPHILE special constable who amassed a collection of hundreds of indecent images had to call the police station after detectives arrested his brother by mistake, a court heard.

Marcus Armstrong’s stash of vile abuse images included pictures of babies and he had searched online for abuse of pre-teen children.

The 38-year-old admitted possession of indecent images of children. He was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years.

Wiltshire Police said Armstrong had been suspended as soon as he was arrested. Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills said: “No one is above the law.”

Paedophile snared

Last week, Swindon Crown Court heard police had gone to his home in Haydon Wick in June 2018 after intelligence suggested child sex abuse images were being downloaded by someone living there.

Prosecutor Tessa Hingston said Armstrong’s brother, Wayne, was initially arrested.

When he learned of his brother’s arrest, Marcus Armstrong called the police station and told detectives he was the one who had downloaded the indecent images.

“It is clear there were images of children as young as babies,” Ms Hingston said.

When he was interviewed by police he claimed he had not gained any sexual gratification from the images.

Evidence from the man’s computers showed he had searched for hardcore images involving pre-teenage youngsters. He had downloaded a specialist application to delete the images from his computer, although he said this was because he no longer wanted them on his devices and not because he was trying to evade detection.

Armstrong, of Frome Road, Trowbridge, pleaded guilty to three counts of making indecent images of children. They included 146 images in category A - the most serious, 143 in category B and 169 in category C.

James Wing, defending, said his client was remorseful, had stopped viewing the images and had no convictions or cautions.

Armstrong was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and 30 rehabilitation activity days.

Judge Jason Taylor QC said: “You are a cog in this whole machine and without people viewing the images the images wouldn’t be made.”

Police react to case

After the case, Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills said: “We welcome the verdict of the court for these very serious offences.

“Marcus Armstrong was arrested in 2018 as a result of a targeted operation in Swindon based on intelligence linked to Child Sexual Exploitation.

“At the time he was special constable and he was immediately suspended upon his arrest and later resigned from his role. As a force, we expect the highest standards of all our officers and staff and no one is above the law.

“Once identified, these offences were impartially and robustly investigated and Marcus Armstrong has been brought to justice for the crimes he has committed.

“Our thoughts remain with the victims of his offences.”