A PERVERT who was sentenced for downloading thousands of indecent images of children was later caught trying to hide his internet browsing history.

In April 2016 James Aherne was given a suspended prison sentence and made subject, indefinitely, to a sexual harm prevention order.

Aherne, aged 53, of Osbourne Grove, Bolton, had pleaded guilty to possessing 355 of the most serious category A photographs and videos of children, 759 category B images and 94,528 category C images.

The order banned him from deleting internet browsing history or installing browser clearing software on any devices he uses and requires him to provide them to police for inspection when required.

But Andrew Smith, prosecuting, told Bolton Crown Court that, on December 30 last year when Aherne's sex offender manager checked up on him at his home he was reluctant to let them in.

"The defendant was initially very reluctant to let the officers enter, claiming he was unwell," said Mr Smith.

"He then offered to hand the devices through the door. When told this was inappropriate the defendant reluctantly allowed the officers entry."

The court heard that Aherne handed over a Samsung and mobile phone, which appeared to have mostly been used for internet supermarket shopping and banking.

"But there were gaps in use of up to a week," said Mr Smith.

"The internet history on the Samsung tablet only went back to October 2019."

The court heard that the tablet had three applications loaded onto it, all capable of concealing internet browsing history and another installed on the phone.

"When asked why the internet history was not on the devices the defendant explained he had not been using the internet on his phone and, with regards to the tablet, he asserted that the bank had advised him to delete his internet history after he had issues with the banking," said Mr Smith.

He added that Aherne stated that the programs loaded onto the devices were anti-virus software and not for concealing the websites he had been looking at.

A further visit to Aherne's home on January 22 revealed that the internet browsing history on his PC only went back to January 8. He had been using the search engine DuckDuckGo, which does not track the user and said that he had had to reset his computer.

No illegal images were found on any of Aherne's devices.

When interviewed by police Aherne claimed that his devices had been hacked and he had been advised to delete his internet history.

Aherne pleaded guilty to three breaches of his sexual harm prevention order but the case was adjourned for a further trial of issue hearing because the prosecution do not accept his explanation that the software installed was just for anti-virus protection.

The case was adjourned until August 11.