A CHAT site user who downloaded hundreds of child abuse images was traced to his home in Kenton by police after a tip-off from the Kik messaging service.

Thomas Geoghegan was found with movies of children aged ten to 11 suffering serious abuse by adults and an online bookmark for a website that hosted such material. 

He was also caught growing three cannabis plants in a tent in his back garden. He told police he used the drug to treat mental health issues.

Geoghegan has since moved back to his home city of Birmingham where he has needed hospital treatment after his condition was exacerbated by the sudden death of his father.

He was sent on a sex offenders’ treatment course and the police were given powers to supervise his future use of the internet under a Sexual Harm Prevention Order at Exeter Crown Court.

Geoghegan, aged 33, of Severine Close Grove, Acocks Green, Birmingham, admitted three counts of making, by downloading, indecent images of children and one of production of cannabis.

He was ordered to do 60 days of rehabilitation activities as part of a three year community order by Recorder Mr Don Tait.

He told him: 'The indecent image offences are not victimless offences.

'Somewhere in the world a child has been abused so people like you can view these dreadful images.'

Miss Hollie Gilbery, prosecuting, said the Kik messaging service notified police of indecent images uploaded onto its website and Geoghegan was identified through the IP address of his home.

Officers seized devices from the property in Kenton, where they also found two mature and one half grown cannabis plant in the garden.

An analysis found 264 images or movies of which most were inaccessible but which included 14 accessible movies showing serious abuse of children by adults.

One showed a child in obvious distress.

Geoghegan told the police that most had been downloaded inadvertently while accessing legal material but officers found he had bookmarked a site which was notorious for hosting child images and movies.

He said he used cannabis to self-medicate and grew his own because he did not like paying money to criminals to buy it on the streets.

Miss Felicity Payne, defending, said Geoghegan has serious mental health issues which have got worse since his arrest and have led to suicide attempts and a period in hospital.

She said he is a good candidate for rehabilitation who would be able to address his offending while working with probation.

He has previously worked as a delivery driver but is currently on benefits.