A pervert who downloaded 90 indecent images of children and was described as a "family man" has been handed a community order.
Stephen Lee, 53, had downloaded the images between December 1 2005 up until September 21 last year when he was arrested after police received information that he may have been in possession of the images.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that a computer was seized and 21 category A, 29 category B and 40 category C indecent images were recovered.
Mark Giuliani, prosecuting, said that all of the images had been deleted by Lee before the police arrested him.
He said: "The defendant was interviewed and he admitted he had viewed the images and had gone to various sites and set up a false account in the name of a female.
"He accepted that he was aware of how illegal it was and as he saw more explicit images he decided to close down his account."
Lee, of Nilverton Avenue, Ashbrooke, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to four counts of making indecent images of children.
Jamie Adams, defending Lee, said: "It's not often you have a case as straightforward as this one.
"It looks like he had already began to soul search before his arrest as he began deleting the images before the police arrived.
"A great deal of utter dismay and trauma has been brought about by his behaviour not only to himself but his wife too.
"He was also totally frank with the arresting police officers."
Sentencing Lee to a three year community order with a three year supervision requirement, Judge Paul Sloan QC said: "You admitted viewing indecent images of females under the age of 18 and had set up an account in a false name.
"Some images were of children and were explicit and you told police you closed the accounts because of the nature of the images. It is clear you did close them.
"Upon interview you stated that your behaviour was wrong.
"You are a family man of previous good character with no previous offences and this type of offending is out of character."
He added: "You are an intelligent man with a good work ethic who is married with two adult children and the risk of re-offending is low.
"However, if you breach your community order you will be back in this court before me and will be sent to prison."
Lee was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention order and must attend a 54 day sex offender group work programme.