A DUMBARTON teenager caught downloading thousands of indecent images of children has been spared jail.

Eighteen-year-old Benjamin Campbell appeared at the town’s sheriff court on Friday for sentencing having previously pleaded guilty to two charges.

The accusations against Campbell, who was said to be still living at home with his parents in Dumbuie Avenue, were that he “did take or permit to be taken or make indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children” on various occasions between February 1, 2019 and August 13, 2020.

He also admitted possession of the sick images over the same time period.

Sentencing had been deferred for the preparation of a background report.

The court heard that Campbell, who first appeared in August last year and tendered his guilty plea in March, had “a large number of items stored, numbering in the thousands”, as well as more than an hour and a half of indecent video footage.

The report found that the teen’s internet search history indicated he had been actively searching for indecent images of children, and it was accepted that he had viewed some of the offending images more than once.

Sheriff Maxwell Hendry said: “This report demonstrates to me an attempt to conceal rather than reveal.

“I appreciate there is an anxiety to minimise on this occasion, but his embarrassment might lessen with the assistance of a supervisor.”

Defence solicitor Judith Reid said Campbell had stopped accessing the images prior to police attending his home.

Ms Reid said: “His parents are said to be distraught.

"However, he seems to benefit from a supportive family.

“He has certainly learned a significant lesson and would benefit immensely from a community based order.”

The sheriff placed Campbell on a community payback order requiring the teenager to carry out 120 hours of unpaid community work within 12 months.

He will also be supervised by a social worker, and will be subject to the sex offender notification requirements, until November 2023.

Sheriff Hendry told him: “You are 18 years of age and you now have a very serious criminal conviction on your record, something that may cause you difficulty for many years to come.

“This is a very serious matter. It is important that you learn that you have to be 100 per cent open and honest with those who are trying to work with you and help you.”

A review hearing was set for August 6.