A FORMER youth convener at Dumbarton Golf Club has been spared jail after he was caught in possession of indecent images of children.

Donal Ferrie appeared at the town’s sheriff court on Thursday, when his solicitor said the offence has had a “devastating” impact on the 53-year-old’s life.

First offender Ferrie appeared for sentencing after pleading guilty to taking, or permitting to be taken, a total of 33 images – two at ‘category B’ level and the rest at ‘category C’, regarded as the least serious.

He admitted being in possession of the images between February 24 and June 26 last year at an address in the town’s Strathclyde Road.

A previous court hearing was told police launched a probe into Ferrie after getting a tip that an indecent image had been uploaded.

The IP address was attributed to Ferrie’s then home address in Alclutha Avenue, Dumbarton, and at Dumbarton Golf Club, where, last month’s hearing was told, he formerly had the role of youth convener.

A search warrant served on June 26, 2018 retrieved mobile phones including a Samsung Galaxy S8 which was found to have a number of indecent images.

The pictures depicted children aged around seven to 13 years old and appeared to be screenshots; the court was told the source of the images could not be determined.

A court hearing last month was told there was no evidence to suggest Ferrie – who had said to police “I’m not a criminal”, when he was arrested – had shared or otherwise distributed the images.

At Dumbarton Sheriff Court last Thursday, Ferrie’s solicitor, Jonathan Paul, told Sheriff Simon Pender: “This offence has had, and will have, a devastating impact upon his life.

“He has, until this offence, been in gainful employment, but he lost a good job through this offence. He has also lost a long-term loving relationship.”

Ferrie was handed a community payback order to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work within nine months, and was placed on the sex offenders’ register for two years.

It’s understood that Ferrie’s involvement with Dumbarton Golf Club was ended as soon as the club was made aware of his arrest, and that club officials referred themselves to Disclosure Scotland, highlighting Ferrie’s former position and role at the club.