A YOUNG man has been given a suspended prison sentence for sending illegal sexual images of children by email.

When police tracked down Theodore Harry Ford’s email address to his physical address, they found 186 sexual images of underage girls and 20 extreme pornographic images on his laptop and eight images he admitted he was responsible for on his brother’s laptop, said Nick Adlington, prosecuting.

They also found many chat room references by him to the sharing and sending of sexual images of children.

Ford, 23, of Jorvik Close, Acomb, pleaded guilty to seven offences relating to indecent images of youngsters.

His barrister, Steven Crossley, said the untimely death of his mother had affected him.

“He became during that period isolated and withdrawn,” Mr Crossley told York Crown Court.

The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, said in the present climate, many teenagers and young people gave very little thought of the long-term consequences of sending images of themselves and Ford may have become “desensitived” to the images he was sending.

He accepted that Ford had been “low and depressed”.

He said testimonials from Ford’s relatives and friends that he had behaved out of character because of matters in his background and his guilty plea had saved him from an immediate trip to jail.

He gave Ford a five-month prison sentence suspended for two years with two years’ supervision and a compulsory sex offender treatment programme, restricted his use of the internet.

The judge also put him on the sex offenders’ register and disqualified him from working with children. He also warned him he would be embarrassed through having to attend the programme.

“You have only yourself to blame for this,” he said.

He added that the sentence would “seriously restrict” his ability if he wanted to travel abroad, but that was all part of the punishment.