A BARRHEAD man who claims he downloaded child sex abuse images by accident has been spared jail.

Colin McClure, 40, said he deleted the illegal images as soon as he realised what he had done.

He was found to have 370 images on a hard drive that was confiscated by police during a raid at his home in the town’s Wraes Avenue.

Cops swooped on April 5 last year, after receiving information there may be indecent images of children on devices within his home.

Last month, during a hearing at Paisley Sheriff Court, it emerged officers found several mobile phones, a computer and storage devices during a search.

Procurator fiscal depute Claire Rowan said: “A search was carried out by officers, who found a number of devices. Computer analysis was then carried out on all of the devices.

“On a hard drive, a total of 370 category-C images were located which depicted child sexual exploitation.

“McClure admitted to officers that the images were his and he was warned that he was under caution.

“Of the 370 images that were found, only one was accessible.”

McClure, a first offender, admitted taking, permitting to be taken or making indecent photographs of children between February 28 and March 1 last year, as well as being in possession of the banned images at his home.

Defence solicitor Jonathan Manson said the reason only one of the photos was accessible was due to the fact McClure had not meant to download them and had quickly deleted them.

Mr Manson added: “He deleted them, not to pervert the course of justice, but because he simply did not want them on his computer.”

Sheriff David Pender had adjourned the case for background reports to be prepared by social workers, with McClure returning to the dock this week to learn his fate.

The judge could have jailed him for the offences but instead placed him on a Community Payback Order.

As well as being supervised by social workers for three years, McClure must complete 180 hours of unpaid work and engage with the ‘Moving Forward, Making Changes’ programme, which helps sex offenders change their ways.

He also had limits placed on his online activities and must return to court in May for a review of his progress.

In addition, McClure has had his name added to the Sex Offenders Register.

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