A WINCHESTER man has narrowly avoided prison for possessing thousands of indecent images.

Phillip Anthony Peach, 30, was caught with 2,544 pornographic images with some involving young children and animals, a court heard.

Peach of Friary Gardens, was sentenced to two years and 11 months in jail, suspended for two years. He will be required to attend an offenders’ treatment programme and rehabilitation activity.

He was also made subject to the sex offenders register and served a sexual harm prevention order, both for 10 years.

Peach pleaded guilty to four counts of making indecent photographs of children, one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image and one count of possessing prohibited images of a child and was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court on Wednesday May 27. The charges related to activity between January 1 2015 and October 31 2018

A CPS spokesperson said: "This was a disturbing case involving grossly offensive images and videos very young children and animals. Both the volume and nature of the images has led to today’s sentence.

“We want to make it clear that we do not tolerate the creation or possession of this type of material and are committed to prosecuting cases like this."

Officers from Hampshire Police investigated Peach after receiving intelligence from a child safety organisation. He was arrested on November 7 2017.

Police seized his mobile phone, a removable storage device and searched his online document storage where officers found over 2,500 indecent images and videos.