A MAN who was found with two child sex dolls and over 1,000 indecent images of children on his computer has been spared jail.

Daniel Bolton pleaded guilty to charges of possessing and distributing the pictures, which included images of children who could have been as young as two, with others showing people "plainly in pain or distress".

Police found the items in July 2017 when they raided the home of the 42-year-old in Leigh Road, Leigh, discovering a large number of the images as well as the dolls and sets of children's clothing used to dress them.

However, Judge Graeme Smith, at Bolton Crown Court said he felt Bolton had a "strong chance of rehabilitation" based on the efforts he had made since the case had being brought to court and posed "no risk or danger to the public".

He was given a three year community order, with 150 hours of unpaid work and a five year sexual harm prevention order.

It followed an explanation from Bolton's defence representative, Andrew Nuttall QC, who said the man had fallen into a "pathetic" lifestyle which involved drinking alcohol and rarely leaving his home.

He said: "Over a period of time, he seems to have become more and more isolated in society, he certainly became lonely and his whole lifestyle seemed to deteriorate quite quickly."

Bolton, who had no previous convictions, was said to be suffering from a "major depressive disorder" but had been working to battle his compulsions through counselling.

He claimed to have bought the two sex dolls, which were imported from abroad, because they were smaller and less expensive than others and not because they depicted children. The first of the dolls cost between £800 and £900 while the second cost £1,200.

While he had been found to have distributed some of the images through the internet this had only involved a small number, which reduced the severity of the charges.

Mr Nuttall added: "His whole life has changed dramatically, it's as if he's come out of a very very dark place."

The defendant was said to have been "addicted" to pornography and had looked at large quantities of adult material before moving to images of children.

Judge Smith explained that psychological reports into the man suggested he had likely become "desensitised" to what he was looking at.

He said: "I accept that you have shown remorse and you have taken steps to bring an end to your offending behaviour."

Despite this, he said Bolton's actions were part of a wider societal issue reflected in the court.

"I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that society at the moment is in an epidemic of child pornography," he said.

"Abuse of that nature only continues on the scale it does because there's a market for viewing such images. You are part of that market and, as I have said, that market is immense."

Bolton was found guilty on eight counts - three of making indecent images of children, two of distributing these images, one of possessing the images and a further two counts of importation of the two child sex dolls.