Beds, Herts & Bucks

Bedfordshire Police advisory member viewed indecent images

A member of a police advisory body who admitted 12 charges of possessing indecent photos of children has been given a three-year community order.

Trevor Hartwell, 71, of Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, told a senior police officer he had viewed indecent images as research, Luton Crown Court heard.

This led to his computer being seized and his crimes coming to light.

The court heard he raised the matter with police after receiving a scam warning message on his computer.

'Research purposes'

Hartwell was part of a Bedfordshire independent police advisory group made up of civilians who gave advice to police.

Prosecutor Daniel Fugallo said: "As a member of the advisory group Mr Hartwell came into contact with senior police officers. In May last year he told one he had viewed indecent images as research.

"An officer attended his home and seized his computer, and he agreed to be interviewed.

"He said he had accessed websites using search terms involving young girls. For research purposes he wanted to see how easy it was, and discovered it was very easy."

The barrister said Hartwell raised the matter with police after receiving a message on his computer purporting to come from Bedfordshire Police saying he had been viewing images and needed to pay a fine to the site.

Judge Philip Bartle QC told Hartwell: "It is tragic to see someone of your age with no previous convictions before a crown court.

"You have obviously led a blameless life hitherto and people speak of you with great warmth and look up to you."

Hartwell's solicitor, Paul Orton, said the offending began as research, and that Hartwell was not interested in children.

Hartwell, of Holme Crescent, must also attend 35 two-hour sessions of an internet sex offenders programme and sign the sex offenders register for five years.

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