A MAN was found "with a catalogue of depraved filth" on two phones – but lied to police after saying he downloaded indecent images of children to report them.

Liam Tomlinson volunteered to hand over his mobile phone on July 27, 2019 after officers were investigating allegations against him, which did not result in a prosecution.

Only a few days later, he contacted police and anxiously asked for his phone back.

Bolton Crown Court heard that files on the device were inaccessible, possibly deleted, but police managed to recover 16 indecent videos and a number of still images on the phone.

Twelve of the videos were of the worst kind – category A.

On August 8, 2019, Tomlinson was arrested and another mobile phone he was in possession of was seized.

That phone contained two still inaccessible category B indecent images of children.

Prosecuting, Adam Watkins, said Tomlinson gave a "bizarre and somewhat convoluted explanation for the indecent images of children".

Mr Watkins said Tomlinson told police he had been contacted "out of the blue" by someone who made threats towards him and that person supplied him with unsolicited indecent images of children.

He said he downloaded the images temporarily with a view to supplying them to Cheshire Police, which he added he did.

But a check found there was no record that a report had been made with Cheshire Police.

After denying the offences in a pre-trial preparation hearing in November last year, he pleaded guilty to three counts of downloading images last month.

Tomlinson, 29, of Radcliffe Road, Bolton, has a single "dissimilar" previous conviction.

Defending, Keith Jones, said Tomlinson was facing "significant struggles in his life" at the time of the offences.

Mr Jones said Tomlinson was looking for indecent images but he has not had looked for such material since.

He said people have contacted him on social media seeking to sell him links and he has blocked and refused such requests.

Judge Paul Lawton handed Tomlinson a sentence of nine months suspended for two years.

He told Tomlinson: "You are here to be sentenced for possession of what can be best described as a catalogue of depraved filth, class A, B and C images of children.

"You have lived, I suspect at the time when you were doing this, an isolated life, the difficulties that were set out in the pre-sentence report.

"I suspect against all that background you used alcohol as a coping mechanism and that combination of isolation and the consumption of alcohol has exposed a poor moral compass."

Judge Lawton said this led to a "determined interest in paedophilia".

He added: "I tell you here and now Mr Tomlinson, there's nothing harmless about this.

"Every child in those images is on the internet for life and has suffered either physically and will suffer thereafter psychologically, some of them for the rest of their lives, when they understand in adulthood what has happened to them as children."

Tomlinson was also told to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work, follow a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement order and to comply with a sexual harm prevention order for five years.

He was forced to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years as well.

Tomlinson must also pay a £140 victim services surcharge fee.