Lorry driver had almost 400 indecent images of children on his laptop

A lorry driver from Leigh whose laptop contained nearly 400 indecent images of children has been ordered to carry out unpaid work.
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Police raided a property on Widdow’s Street in Leigh on April 30 and seized a device belonging to Anthony Prescott.

Wigan magistrates heard he was at work at the time, so officers phoned him and he agreed to attend the police station the following day.

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Tess Kenyon, prosecuting, said he admitted in interview that the laptop had been used to upload and download indecent images of children, but he had deleted them from the machine.

An investigation by the high-tech crime unit found there were 396 indecent images of children aged eight to 15 on the laptop. The images all fell into category C, with none found in the more serious categories A and B.

In a second interview police asked Prescott, 39, about specific software on the laptop. He admitted installing Tor software, which lets users hide their identity while on the internet and allows them to access the dark web, the court heard. Prescott, of Railway Road, Leigh, said he had done so out of curiosity.

Miss Kenyon said the forensic report showed software had also been installed which can hide activity on a device and had been used 68 times.

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Prescott, who had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to making 396 category C indecent images of children between January 20 2017 and May 1 2019, when he appeared before justices last month.

The case was adjourned so a pre-sentence report could be prepared, which defence solicitor Bob Toppin described as “comprehensive”. He said Prescott had written a long statement which started: “I make no excuses for what I did.”

The bench imposed a 12-month community order, with 20 rehabilitation activity days and 150 hours’ unpaid work. Prescott has a notification requirement due to committing a sexual offence and must confirm his details at the police station every 12 months. He was also ordered to pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.