POLICE found 22,000 images of child pornography on a computer in Holmfirth, a court was told.
A police officer found the lap-top computer at a Holmfirth mill in Huddersfield Road, after arresting a man in Mirfield.
But yesterday, Robert Johnson – who had a previous conviction for child porn offences – was spared jail when he appeared at Bradford Crown Court.
A judge imposed a three-year community order on 48-year-old Johnson, of The Maltings, Mirfield.
Johnson, who has a previous conviction for downloading similar indecent images of youngsters, was already subject to a sexual offences prevention order. The latest offences came to light in August last year when he was visited by a supervising officer at his then home in the Halifax area.
Johnson, who now lives in Mirfield, was arrested and during the police inquiry a lap-top computer was found at a Holmfirth mill.
Bradford Crown Court heard how police discovered more than 22,000 indecent images of children on the computer equipment, although many of them were duplicated images with only about 7,400 being unique.
The vast majority of the images were at the lowest level of seriousness, but there were a small number of more serious images.
Johnson told police he was suffering from depression and had a “weakness” which led him to commit the offences.
At an earlier court hearing Johnson pleaded guilty to 21 charges of making indecent images of children.
His lawyer Malcolm Nowell told the court at a previous hearing that Johnson lived a “solitary, lonely existence”.
Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC told Johnson that his offending had to stop and warned him that by making a community order for the offences his sentencing powers would be unrestricted if he breached it.
“If you breach it you could be facing many, many years imprisonment,” the judge told him.
The judge banned Johnson from working with children and imposed a further sexual offences prevention order.
Johnson also has to pay £1,000 costs and he must register as a sex offender with the police for the next five years.