A VILE paedophile accessed hundreds of child abuse images on the dark web.

Southend man Jason Gloster has been given a suspended prison sentence for three counts of possessing indecent images of a child.

The crimes took place last year, with the 37-year-old being discovered by police in the second half of the year.

After his home was raided and he was arrested, police seized his computer and found a software installed which enabled him to access the dark web.

The dark web is only accessible by special software and allows users to be largely untraceable and anonymous.

From there, Gloster downloaded hundreds of abusive images of children, including many in category A, the most serious kind.

Basildon Crown Court heard yesterday that some of the images in Gloster’s possession showed the children to be in “significant distress” and all were of a vulnerable age.

Mitigating for Gloster, Cyrus Schroff told the court that since his arrest he has made significant efforts to change his behaviour including contacting the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, a charity dedicated to preventing child sex abuse online and in person.

Sentencing Gloster, Recorder Tim Clark QC said: “You’ve pleaded guilty to three offences which are vile images of innocent, defenceless children, and members of the public are angry that these offences occur.

“There are a number of men who become addicted to these images on the internet and we have to punish you.

“Every time a photograph is taken there is an abuse of a child.”

Gloster, of Southchurch Avenue, Southend, received 12 months in prison suspended for two years and sixty days of rehabilitation activity.

If he offends again, he will be forced to return to court and go to jail for at least a year.