A LINWOOD man who hoarded child pornography at his home claimed the children abused in the footage weren’t victims.

James Lewis downloaded the indecent images at his home in the town’s Belmar Court over a four-year period.

The 58-year-old was accused of taking, permitting images to be taken, or making child abuse images between November 2009 and May last year.

But prosecutors agreed the date he downloaded the images was May 2011.

He then pleaded guilty to breaking Section 52(1)(a) of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, which covers taking, or permitting to be taken, or making, any indecent photograph of a child.

A second charge that he had broken Section 52A(1) of the Act by being in possession of banned images was dropped by prosecutors.

Lewis was due to go on trial at Paisley Sheriff Court last month but pleaded guilty at a pre-trial.

Sentence was deferred so he could be assessed by social workers and he returned to the dock this week to be sentenced.

And it emerged that Lewis had told social workers interviewing him that he didn’t think there were any victims as a result of his criminality.

But defence solicitor Gordon Ritchie told the court that Lewis has since realised that every child featured in the footage he had downloaded was a victim.

As she placed him on a Community Payback Order (CPO), Sheriff Susan Sinclair told him: “Each image features a child somewhere in the world that’s being abused.

“It’s not victimless, it’s serious.

“People in your position simply create demand which causes a risk of further abuse,” she continued.

“I have to consider whether a period of imprisonment would be appropriate. I’m not convinced that would be an appropriate disposal in your case.”

She placed him on a Community Payback Order (CPO) which will see him supervised by social workers and experts who deal with child sex offenders for the next three years.

As part of the CPO, he has to take part in the Moving Forward Making Changes Programme, which aims to help sex offenders change their ways.

And he was banned from deleting the internet history on any device he owns, so social workers can check he is not back to his old tricks.

He was also banned from contacting anyone under the age of 18 on the internet.

Sheriff Sinclair told him: “You can’t even use Facebook to contact nieces, nephews or any person or children under the age of 18.”