A PERVERT who downloaded more than 22,000 indecent images of children is now living a lonely life after being disowned by family and friends, a court was told.

Pensioner Ian Ryder stored vile pictures on USB sticks hidden in shoes in his car but was caught after the National Crime Agency spotted when he uploaded one indecent image to Instagram from his account.

Bob Sastry, prosecuting, told the court how Ryder's home was raided by police on July 11, 2019, and a number of devices were seized, including laptops, phones, hard drives, an iPad and USB sticks.

Ryder, a 67-year-old grandad, told officers that the mobile phone he used most recently had been lost on holiday in Buglaria, but when the number was called the pensioner's ex-wife, who lived nearby, answered and told police he had left it at her home.

When examined by police the devices were found to contain two of the most serious Category A videos, one Category B image and the remainder were 22,790 images in Category C.

Police also recovered a document Ryder had purchased advising how to access the dark web and be undetected on the internet.

Conversations on his Instagram account were examined. "They were believed to have been conducted by the defendant and may have related to inappropriate conversations with young people," said Mr Sastry.

"The Crown were unable to follow any of those leads up and, it is right to say, therefore, there is no evidence that the defendant had, in fact had conversations with young people, although there were conversations which did disclose an interest, a sexual interest rather, in relation to young female children."

Mr Sastry added: "There were also a number of text messages from his wife which were, in some way, abusive and suggesting that the defendant had been pursuing young girls."

Ryder, of Lock Lane, Lostock, pleaded guilty to one count of distributing an indecent image of a child and three counts of downloading indecent images of children.

Mark Shanks, defending, said Ryder began viewing indecent images when he was feeling lonely as his marriage failed.

"He is absolutely disgusted with himself," said Mr Shanks. "To say he is remorseful doesn't really cover it.

"He is horrified about what he has done. His family and friends have all disowned him. The only person who was talking to him was his mother, who sadly passed away in October."

He added that, in recent months, Ryder has voluntarily gone on a course to address his behaviour.

Sentencing Ryder to two months in prison, suspended for two years, with 40 days of rehabilitation activities Judge Nield told him: "It's extremely sad indeed to see a man of your age and status brought before these courts for, what your counsel has described as, disgusting offences — a phrase which he uses because of the instructions you have given to him.

"Whatever sentence I was to impose in respect of these matters today, you have effectively sentenced yourself in that your life has been severely impacted upon by the discovery of your viewing of these images.

"You have lost most members of your family — your only solace being your mother, who sadly died. The loneliness of your current circumstances will be a punishment of itself."

Ryder was placed on the sex offenders' register and will be subject to a sexual harm prevention order for seven years.