A CHEF who was caught with vile images of child sex abuse has been handed a community penalty.

Anthony Cox, of Richens Drive, Carterton, admitted one count of making indecent images of children on or before February 14, 2016.

Prosecutors at Oxford Crown Court yesterday said the 58-year-old was investigated by police as part of an ‘intelligence-led’ operation.

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A computer tower seized from his home was found to contain three videos and one image depicting sexual abuse involving children.

One of the banned images – which were all classed as category B, a medium category – showed a seven-year old child performing a sex act.

Another film depicted a 12-year-old boy lying naked on a bed and involved in another sex act.

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Cox, who has no previous convictions, went on to admit the offence before his sentencing hearing yesterday.

In mitigation at the hearing his defence barrister Michael Goold said that his client was a ‘professional’ man and a married father-of-two.

He said his family were aware of the conviction and ‘supportive’ of him and that since the charges came to light he now suffers from depression and anxiety.

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Sentencing, Judge Maria Lamb said: “People who download this sort of material encourage those who are prepared to peddle it.

“Behind each one of those images lies an exploited and vulnerable child.”

She went on to say that, in light of the mitigation and his circumstances, she could order a community penalty in this case.

Cox was made subject to a community order for 18 months and must carry out 40 days of rehabilitation activity requirement.

He must also pay a victim surcharge and court costs of £250 and sign the sex offenders register.