A NORTHWICH man has avoided jail despite building a collection of more than 2,500 child abuse images over a decade.

Paul Parfitt, of Smithy Lane, Lostock Gralam, appeared at Chester Crown Court on February 2 for sentencing on six charges.

The court heard the 55-year-old had in his possession a total of 2,661 indecent images and videos of children between March 31, 2011, and December 10, 2022.

Of these, 38 were 'category A' images - the most serious kind - 48 were 'category B', and 2,575 were in 'category C'.

While Parfitt was charged with making and possessing these images, he also faced a charge of possessing 10 extreme pornographic images depicting bestiality between September 2013 and December 2022.

After pleading guilty to all charges on December 29 last year, Parfitt returned to court to learn his fate. 

Recorder Ciaran Rankin sentenced Parfitt to total of 12 months' imprisonment, suspended for a year.

He must also abstain from alcohol for 120 days, which will be monitored electronically, and complete 40 days of rehabilitation activity.

Parfitt was also ordered to register with the police for 10 years and was made the subject of a five-year sexual harm prevention order.

As part of this order, he is banned from using any computer or device capable of accessing the internet, unless he first notifies police.

The device must also be able to retain his history of internet use and he must not delete such history. Parfitt must also make the device available to police inspection on request.

Finally Recorder Rankin made an order for the forfeiture and destruction of various pieces of computer equipment seized during the police investigation.

Parfitt must also pay court costs of £425 and a surcharge of £110.