A JUDGE has advised a paedophile who distributed sick pictures of children to spend more time fishing than visiting chat rooms.

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard how loner Matthew O'Mahoney, aged 27, of Milton Road, Prestwich, downloaded pictures of children as young as three and distributed some of them.

Megan Tollitt, prosecuting, told the court how police raided O'Mahoney's home at 7.40am on October 4, 2019 and seized mobile phones and a laptop from his bedroom.

O'Mahoney told officers: "I have not been able to help myself since last time. I have been sending pictures."

Judge John Edwards heard how, in 2013, O'Mahoney had been arrested for a possible conversation with a 13-year-old girl, but no charges were brought.

When the phones and laptop were examined, police found 22 of the most serious category A images of children, including one video, eight category B images and six in category C.

In addition there were nine images of extreme porn involving animals, three of which were videos and seven prohibited images.

A WhatsApp conversation between O'Mahoney and someone else was also found, during which the defendant sent two category A indecent images.

O'Mahoney pleaded guilty to distributing indecent images of a child, possessing extreme pornographic images, possessing prohibited images of a child and three counts of downloading indecent images of a child.

Stuart Duke, defending, told the court: "He has significant learning difficulties and had a miserable and abusive upbringing."

He stressed that O'Mahoney had not distributed the indecent pictures for commercial gain.

"He didn't realise the implications of distributing as opposed to creating by downloading," he said, adding that the defendant does not have any other convictions although he had a "shot across the bows" with the previous arrest.

Judge Edwards sentenced O'Mahoney to a community order for three years with 150 hours of unpaid work.

He must also attend an offenders' programme, participate in 10 days of rehabilitation activities, is on the sex offenders' register and was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for five years.

Judge Edwards told O'Mahoney he will not be given another chance to avoid prison.

He said: "These were deeply troubling images, shocking in some cases, of the vilest form.

"I appreciate that your isolated lifestyle only lends itself to this sort of activity but I do suggest that you spend a bit more time fishing, which I gather is your hobby, and a bit less time on games consoles and chat rooms."