Martyn Thornton, of Runcorn, was found to have a depraved collection of photos of children being sexually abused.
The 64-year-old admitted having the vile material on his hard drive when he appeared before Chester Crown Court.
But a judge chose against sending him to prison immediately during a sentencing hearing on Tuesday, August 1.
Thornton appeared in court after admitting charges of possessing indecent images of children (IIOC), three of making IIOC and one of possessing a prohibited image of a child.
Nardeen Nemat, representing the prosecution in the case, told the court how a forensic examination of his hard drive by police revealed the presence of IIOC.
There were 180 illegal images in total, of which eight were graded category A – the most severe category involving child rape.
Of the remaining 172, 10 were judged to be category B and 162 as category C, while Thornton was also in possession of a prohibited image of a child.
Thornton, of Boston Avenue, was sentenced by judge Simon Berkson to two years in prison suspended for two years.
He must also complete 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and 100 hours of unpaid work in and for the benefit of the community.
Moreover, the court approved sex offender registration and notification requirements with the police and a sexual harm prevention order – both for a period of 10 years.
It also approved an order to deprive Thornton of his hard drive.