350,000 indecent images of children found after police raid at Yetholm home

Selkirk Sheriff Court.
Selkirk Sheriff Court.

A man caught in possession of 350,000 indecent images of children will be sentenced next month.

Michael Bell, 60, downloaded that huge haul of photographs and videos onto computers at his home in Dow Brae, Town Yetholm, between November 2012 and April 2018.

He pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of indent photographs and causing or permitting them to be taken.

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser told Selkirk Sheriff Court that the police received information about a device connected to Bell’s home downloading indecent images of children and that they were being shared.

A warrant was granted, and police officers called at his house on April 3, and Bell answered the door.

He was cautioned and he confirmed he lived alone and that no one else had access to his computer.

Mr Fraser said various search phrases were found on Bell’s computer such as ‘young school model’ and ‘young little virgins’.

The hard drives of three devices were examined.

The first had 16 category-A, that being the most serious type, images and eight videos on, plus 92 category-B images and eight videos and 34,201 category-C images and 46 videos.

The second had 10 category-A videos on, 61 category-B images and 99 videos and 160,927 category-C images and 440 videos.

The third had 21 category-A images and four videos on, 352 category-B images and 49 videos and 153,952 category-C images and 259 videos.

Mr Fraser commented: “That is just short of 350,000 category-C images alone. Reports will be inevitable.”

Sentence was deferred until March 18 at Jedburgh Sheriff Court for the production of a criminal justice social work report.

Bell’s name was put on the sex offenders’ register in the meantime.