A PAEDOPHILE whose former close friends felt “disgust and revulsion” at the revelation he viewed more than 2,000 indecent images of children has been spared a prison sentence.

Andrew Hellman sought out disgusting websites and used an internet search engine to find vile images of boys as young as eight.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard the 42-year-old had viewed 50 still and 46 moving images of the most serious category A.

When police searched his home, in High Street, Tollesbury, they seized 28 electronic devices.

After analysis, 12 of the items were found to contain the sickening haul of indecent images.

Officers uncovered 454 still and ten moving images of category B.

They also found a total of 1,942 still and two moving images of category C.

Following his arrest in 2017, Hellman admitted six counts of making indecent images of children.

Aneurin Brewer, mitigating, said the paedophile had completed a programme designed for offenders and had shown “genuine remorse.”

“He has demonstrated in a letter a good insight into the escalation of his use of pornographic material which has led to his offending, the harm caused by his behaviour and the proactive effort to ensure he doesn’t offend again,” he said.

“The impact of these proceedings have inevitably been serious.

“In the last two years his relationship with his husband has broken down, his citizenship in the UK has been under threat and he has lost many close friends who have reacted with understandable disgust and revulsion at being told what he has done.”

Suspending a nine month prison sentence for two years, judge Patricia Lynch QC said a thorough pre-sentence report showed there is a “sufficient prospect” of rehabilitation.

She said: “Paedophiles like yourself think because they are looking at images on the computer that in some way they are not real and the children they are looking at are not victims.

“They are victims. They are children who should be protected by adults, who should not be used as sexual objects.

“I don’t know if you have young men in your family, but if you were ever tempted to do this sort of thing again think how it would be if it was them being filmed and looked at by all sorts of people for sexual enjoyment.”