AN IRVINE man who spent nine years collecting more than 11,000 sick images and videos of babies and children being abused has been spared a jail sentence.

Alan Andrew admitted to having thousands of child porn images on his laptop which he had taken, made or allowed to be taken at an address in Castlepark between May 1, 2008 and June 21 last year.

The 53-year-old sat in the dock at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court with his head bowed as his defence solicitor, Roselyn Gallen, told the court his life and the life of his family and 14-year-old son had been destroyed as a result of his sick haul.

Mrs Gallen said: “This is a man who has lost everything. He has lost his family and the respect of everyone that he knows. His 14-year-old son’s life has been a living nightmare as a result of press coverage in local and national news and he will never be able to make that up to him.

“He is very concerned that you will impose a custodial sentence because he has a number of debts. If he was to go to prison the family home would need to be sold.”

Despite the huge number of images – raging in severity from Category A to C – Sheriff Iona MacDonald decided depraved Andrew, of East Broomlands, would not serve any jail time, instead giving him 250 hours of unpaid work and placing him on the Sex Offender’s register for three years.

“The risk assessment indicates that it would be better for the general public that you receive some education by way of a programme requirement.

“In these circumstances I’m persuaded that rather than a custodial sentence it’s better to place you on a community payback order for three years.”