Former Sussex Police Officer Jailed

2 September 2011, 14:12 | Updated: 2 September 2011, 17:15

A former Sussex Police Officer who pleaded guilty to making and distributing more than 50,000 images of child abuse was jailed for 27 months today.

Philip Savidge, 26, used the username babypass2004 on a file-sharing website to distribute indecent still and moving images.

He resigned as an acting sergeant with Sussex Police, based at East Grinstead, on the day he was arrested at the home he shared with his parents and brothers.

After seizing two computer hard drives and three memory sticks, police found 52,672 images, some of which were at the highest level five category.

His collection, described by a judge as ``horrendous'', also included 35 extreme pictures involving animals and 1,646 computer-generated indecent images.

Lewes Crown Court heard that Savidge's fascination with child porn spiralled ``out of control'' and that he felt relieved when he was eventually caught.

Savidge, of Alexandra Road, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, compared his collection to hoarding sporting images and said he started it to cope with stress.

Prosecutor Martin Yale said: ``He said that since he became involved in indecent images the situation snowballed and he had collected in his own words 'a fair amount', mainly of young boys.''

As he built up a bigger collection of pictures and movies, more people wanted to contact him through the filesharing website, Mr Yale added.

The ages of the children featured ranged from four to 12. The court heard that Savidge was a Scout leader, working with mainly boys.

He also held other positions of trust involving contact with children, including as a cricket coach, teaching children aged eight to 18, and he also worked with police cadets.

Mr Yale said: ``He said he knew it was a risk that he would get caught and he knew it was wrong.

``He tried to stop but he had not sought help because he felt it was not the sort of thing he could talk about.''

Today he pleaded guilty to 42 counts of making and distributing indecent images, and possessing extreme pictures.

None of the offences involved contact by Savidge with the children, with all the images having been previously generated and shared online.

After the case, Detective Inspector Alison Eaton, of Sussex Police's specialist crime directorate, said: ``This case involved more than 54,000 images and videos of children, some of them babies and toddlers suffering serious abuse from adults.

``We must never forget that children are being assaulted so that these images can be produced and distributed via the web for the sexual gratification of paedophiles.

``Trying to put a stop to this evil trade is a huge task but our paedophile online investigation team officers, working with colleagues in law enforcement across the world and with public support, continue to develop their techniques aimed at identifying offenders and bring them to justice as we have in this case.''

A Sussex Police spokesman added: ``This case also demonstrates that we will bring such offenders to justice regardless of their occupation or background.

``Savidge was in a position of great trust within the community he served, but that trust was breached by this criminal behaviour.

``Had he not resigned on the day of his arrest, he would have been instantly suspended and would have faced dismissal following his conviction.''