Kelso man fined for indecent downloads

Jedburgh Sheriff Court.
Jedburgh Sheriff Court.

A 54-year-old man who admitted possessing indecent images of children and bestiality videos has been ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work at Jedburgh Sheriff Court.

James Ascroft pleaded guilty to the offences which happened at his home at Harpertoun Cottage near Kelso, in September 2017.

A previous court hearing was told that that officers at the cyber crime unit received information in December 2016 that a device associated with his home address was accessing indecent images.

Officers searched the home and 40 devices were seized and removed from the house for examination.

Unlawful material was discovered on five of them.

Of the 20,000 pornographic images and videos found, 136 were found to be unlawful.

Regarding the indecent images of children, two were found to be in the most serious Category A and two in Category B.

One Category C movie and 102 images were recovered.

In addition, there were 29 extreme pornographic videos featuring bestiality involving sexual intercourse between a person and an animal.

Following the examination of hard drives seized from his home, officers attended at Ascroft’s home address on May last year.

Ascroft’s lawyer said his client had no idea how he came into possession of the images.

He explained that when he had been downloading lawful material en-masse from the internet the unlawful material must have been included, explaining that he found the material “abhorrent”.

The lawyer added that Ascroft did not realise possessing the bestiality videos was illegal.

Sheriff Donald Ferguson told Ascroft: “This is indeed a serious matter.”

Ascroft was also placed on supervision for 24 months as part of a community pay back order and his name placed on the Sex Offenders Register for a similar period.