January 2023

Pervert caught with thousands of child sex abuse images

An oil and gas worker has been placed on the sex offender’s register after he was caught with thousands of child sex abuse images.

Andrew Smith’s house was raided by police who found more than 3,500 images and hours of video footage across his electronic devices.

When officers arrived at the 53-year-old’s Banchory home he told them: “I’ve downloaded stuff I shouldn’t have.”

Police discovered images of children as young as one and video footage totalling nearly 16 hours.

Smith, who had been downloading the images for over 14 years, told the arresting officers: “It’s a disgusting thing. I don’t even know why I do it.”

Fiscal depute Lucy Simpson told the court that a search warrant for Smith’s Banchory home was executed on November 16 2021.

Smith allowed them entry and as he was cautioned he stated: “I’ve downloaded stuff I shouldn’t have. I’m more into downloading than viewing stuff. I shan’t be doing that anymore, obviously.”

“A systematic search of the locus was thereafter conducted,” Ms Simpson said.

“During this search, a computer tower and a hard drive were recovered and the accused identified these items as belonging to him – he also provided the passcode for the computer tower.

“Initial examination of these devices revealed indecent images of children and the items were seized by police.”

In reply to caution and arrest, Smith stated: “Sorry for giving everyone the hassle and it’s a disgusting thing. I don’t even know why I do it.”

Smith’s computer tower was found to contain 174 videos of male and female children between one and 14 years of age.

The combined video runtime of these videos was 15 hours and 50 minutes.

A total of 3,515 images of children aged between three and 14 were found on both Smith’s computer tower and hard drive.

Two of those were Category A, two were Category B, while the remaining 3,511 were considered Category C.

Smith pleaded guilty to one charge of taking or permitting to be taken or making indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children between August 31 2007 and November 16 2021.

He admitted a further charge of being in possession of indecent images of children.

Sheriff Andrew Miller told Smith: “You have pleaded guilty to very serious offences.

“I am constantly reminded that anyone who downloads images of this kind of child sexual abuse contributes to the worldwide demand for these images – that outlines why these offences are so serious.”

As an alternative to a prison sentence, Sheriff Miller placed Smith on a community payback order with supervision and ordered him to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work.

He also placed Smith, of Banchory, on the sex offender’s register for three years.