Three West Lothian men snared in police child porn crackdown

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Three middle-aged men have appeared in court after being snared in a police porn crackdown.

All three from West Lothian had their names added to the sex offenders’ register for downloading images and videos of children being sexually abused.

They pled guilty at Livingston Sheriff Court yesterday to various charges of possessing indecent images, including one of having extreme porn.

Sheriff Edington told each of the accused, who appeared separately, that they would be notified of the length of the time their names would remain on the sex offenders’ register when they were sentenced.

Alan Sim, 59, pled guilty to downloading extreme pornography explicitly depicting bestiality – people having sex with animals as well as taking or making indecent photographs of youngsters.

He admitted committing the offences at his home in Willlow Grove, Livingston, over more than three years between March 2013 and November 2016

Jim Robertson, the fiscal depute, said officers at Police Scotland’s cyber crime unit learned in July 2016 that a device using Sim’s IP address was connected to the internet.

“The user account had uploaded an indecent image of a child at that time.

“A warrant was granted and on 23 November police attended at the accused’s address there and seized the computer equipment that was there.

“The accused was subsequently detained and interviewed, then his computer equipment was analysed.”

He said officers found Sim had 164 images depicting realistic extreme pornography and 153 images of children being abused, 11 at the worst category ‘A’ and 25 at category ‘B’.

Mike Bell, defending, said Sim had been attending counselling at an organisation called ‘Stop it’ for nine months after being referred there by police and had found it of some assistance.

Next to be caught in the police trawl of dark web users was John Fraser, 49, of Tantallon Gardens, Bellsquarry.

He pled guilty to possessing indecent images of children between October 2016 and January 2017, when he was caught.

Like the others, he had no previous convictions.

In Fraser’s case, Mr Robertson said the police cyber crime unit had received intelligence that a device connected to internet contained indecent videos.

The IP address was the address of the accused. Again a warrant was granted and his home was searched on Thursday 5 January.

They found his computers contained a total of 22 indecent videos; four at category ‘A’, one at category ‘B’ and 16 at category ‘C’ but no still images.

James Burns – the oldest of the three at 63 years of age – pled guilty to possessing indecent images at his home in Rashihill Terrace, Breich, over a seven-year period until his arrest on January 20 2017.

Mr Robertson told the court that following the search of his house police removed various items capable of accessing the internet, including a tablet and a mobile phone.

In Burns’ case indecent images were found stored on Secure Digital (SD) cards.

One contained 10 category 1 images of children and the other seven movies – six rated category ‘A’ and one rated category ‘B’.