A UNEMPLOYED Bodmin man told police he looked at indecent images of young boys because he viewed them as art.
Police raided Derek Long’s house on June 12, 2012 after a separate investigation revealed he had used his Visa card to buy a disc containing indecent images of boys.
That disc – called Nathan’s Gift Episode One – had been supplied to the 65-year-old by another man who was being investigated by officers.
Long’s computer equipment was seized and was found to contain thousands of indecent photographs of youngsters as well as cartoon-type images.
One such picture, which fell into the least serious category for such material, showed a naked girl aged about seven.
Elaine Hobson, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said Long told police in interview that he did not find the material sexual.
She said: “He says that he thinks the images are art ... he did say that he finds the images arousing but did not get physically aroused.”
At an earlier hearing, Long, of Meadow Plash, pleaded guilty to 12 charges of making images classed at levels 1 to 4 on the scale used by police to categorise such material, with 5 being the highest.
Long, who also admitted three counts of possessing prohibited images of a child, downloaded more than 3,000 images between December 2011 and June 2012, the court was told.
Chris Andrews, defending, said Long had a dependency on anti-depressant medication and had attempted suicide three times in the past.
He said: “He knows inside himself that he has an addiction and he has had an addiction to this type of material for a number of years.”
Mr Andrews added that Long wanted to get help.
Sentencing, Judge Christopher Harvey Clark, QC, said: “For you to describe such images to the police officer as art was complete nonsense.
“These images are not art. These images are created to give sexual titillation ... these images necessarily involve the exploitation and abuse of children.”
Long was sentenced to four months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to carry out an internet sex offenders’ programme under the supervision of the probation service.
He was made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order and told to sign the sex offenders’ register for seven years.
Long was also ordered to pay £400 towards the costs of the prosecution.