A teacher who was caught with dozens of indecent images of children on his computer has escaped jail.

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"It is a real tragedy that you have squandered your own career by behaving in this way and in a way which you knew was wrong."

Judge James Hawkesworth

Philip Scott of Blackhorse Drove, near Littleport, admitted 10 counts of making and possessing indecent images of children, as well as two counts of possessing extreme pornographic images involving adult women.

At Cambridge Crown Court on Tuesday Judge Gareth Hawkesworth stopped short of sending Scott to jail and instead handed him an eight-month suspended sentence and ordered him to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years

Police raided the 44-year-old’s home in January after receiving a tip-off from police in Lincolnshire who had been monitoring activity on a website, the court was told.

When police arrived, Scott fainted with shock and had to be aided by officers while a computer and CDs were seized.

Police later discovered dozens of images of children on the computer ranging from more than 60 images at level one right through to two images at level four on the Copine scale, a measure used to grade the severity of the images. Level five images are judged the worst kind.

Until his arrest, Scott had been a history teacher at Springwood High School in King’s Lynn but he was suspended from his post after charges were brought by police and sacked last August, after he entered a guilty plea.

Summing up, Judge Hawkesworth, said: “The gravity of these offences is such that by providing a market for such images you are directly contributing to the effect upon children who are forced into such activity. You are also contributing to grossly violent behaviour so far as mature women are concerned.

“It is a real tragedy that you have squandered your own career by behaving in this way and in a way which you knew was wrong.”

Shortly after being arrested in January, Scott attempted to take his own life by overdosing on pills and drink and confessed what he had done in a letter written to his mother.

Dylan Moses, in mitigation, said: “He is a man of previous good character and a very good teacher and part of the shame in this is that he will not be able to resume his job as a teacher.”

As part of his sentence, it was also ruled that Scott would be forbidden from working with children under the age of 16 and must complete an internet sex offenders course.

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