Hartlepool pensioner ‘shopped’ to police after child porn haul found on mobile phone

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A Hartlepool pensioner’s collection of child pornography was discovered after he took his mobile phone to a shop for an upgrade.

Shocked 02 shop staff came across some of 67-year-old Russell Chapman’s indecent images on his phone and alerted the police.

A search of his home revealed more photos on another phone and a disc.

In total he had 390 including 108 in the most serious category and 226 in the lowest.

Chapman entered the dock at Teesside Crown Court with a heavy suitcase.

But he was spared jail after the judge said the length of prison sentence he could impose for the offences would be too short for Chapman to receive treatment and not offend again.

Jennifer Haigh, prosecuting, said: “The offences came to light when the defendant upgraded his mobile phone.

“He took it to an 02 shop but when his contacts were transferred from his old phone to his new one as staff checked they had all been deleted a member of staff saw some of the images and reported it to police.”

Chapman, of Laburnum Road, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to two charges of making indecent photos of children and one of possessing indecent images, between January 21 and 31.

The court heard he was of previous good character.

The Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, suspended the 12-month prison sentence so Chapman could access the Sex Offender’s Treatment Programme.

He said if Chapman had to serve that immediately the reality was he would be released after six months.

Judge Bourne-Arton said: “It’s quite clear to me and obvious you wouldn’t get that treatment and that kind of supervision on that programme whilst serving a short sentence of custody.

“Upon your release you would not be subject to any form of supervision or control other than the sexual harm prevention order that I’m going to impose.”

In suspending the sentence for two years for Chapman to access the treatment the judge added: “Do not think that is a soft option. You will find it intensive.”