A SEX offender has been banned from owning mobile camera phones after he admitted keeping indecent images of girls as young as nine.

Andrew Brown, aged 42, of Newby Road, Breightmet, tried to hide the phone under an armchair when police made a routine call at his house, Bolton Crown Court heard.

Brown, a registered sex offender, was already the subject of monitoring by police after being jailed for numerous indecent assault offences in 1998 and 2004.

And officers found the images when they visited his home on February 12, last year.

Adrian Dugdale, prosecuting, told the court on Friday that the defendant appeared "surprised" when police arrived at his home and then "almost ran" back into his living room and was seen by officers trying to slide an object under an armchair.

Police recovered a mobile phone and Brown was arrested on suspicion of possessing indecent mages.

Later, forensic examination revealed hundreds of pornographic images and eight illegal and indecent images of children.

Mr Dugdale said the phone included images of girls as young as nine in sexual poses, wearing different types of lingerie.

In November, Brown pleaded guilty to eight counts of possessing indecent photographs of children, aged between nine and 14.

Phillip Parry, defending, said Brown maintained he did not download the images, claiming they had been downloaded by someone else and that he had not deleted them.

Judge William Morris sentenced Brown to a three-year community order during which he will have to complete a sex offender course.

Brown was also given a Sexual Offenders Prevention Order banning him for five years from having contact with - or seeking the company of - unaccompanied children under 16, living or working with children, having access to a private personal computer or possessing a mobile phone with a camera or internet capability.

Judge Morris added: "The seriousness of these offences is, of course, that each of these images represents the exploitation of a young child.

"One shudders to think what happened to that child immediately before, at the time or, indeed, after these photographs were taken."