A paedophile caught downloading nearly 3,000 child abuse images - including a girl under four being raped - has dodged jail for collecting the sick pics. 

Shaun Anderson pleaded guilty to two charges of hoarding indecent images or pseudo-photographs involving children from two to 15-years-old. 

The 36-year-old pleaded guilty to a charge of taking, permitting to be taken or making indecent images of children on various occasions from June 14, 2018 and February 24 last year. 

The Maybole man also admitted possessing the images at his recent address in Blair Avenue, Hurlford, from June 4, 2018 and February 25, 2022. 

Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard police attended Anderson’s address in February 25 last year with a warrant – contacting him by phone at his work when there was no answer at the door. 

The fiscal depute added: “Officers made their way there and traced the accused, before transporting him back to his home address.  

“A mobile phone was recovered and a laptop, PC unit, and two hard drives.

"A preliminary examination revealed indecent images of children were present on the devices. He was arrested and taken to the police office.

"He admitted obtaining indecent images online. He stated he had an interest in female children aged 10 and above. 

A total of 2,977 indecent images were found across the devices 660 the worst level of abuse at category A.

Many of the images were found to be inaccessible - having been removed from devices after them being downloaded - but then recovered by Police Scotland. 

A further 622 of the images were category B, including a girl aged five to six being abused by an adult woman and 1,695 Category C still and video files.

The web history recovered suggested the user also had an interest in fictional stories of child sexual abuse. 

When Anderson returned for sentencing last week [Tuesday, September 27], defence solicitor Graeme Cunningham urged the court to spare his client custody.

He said: "An obvious solutuion would be sending Anderson to jail but that would not address the issues or of public protection. 

“Shaun Anderson, in the criminal justice social work report, goes beyond what's in the terms of the libel; that perhaps shows his honesty.  

“He understands what he has done is wrong and needs punishment.

"He began engaging in the Stop it Now programme [which encourages sex offenders to address their behaviour]. 

"Nothing has come to fruition other than him viewing the material.

"He is 36 years of age and has no friends and been in no formal relationships, other than a brief experimental relationship with a friend years ago."  

Sheriff Colin Bissett said: “Mr Anderson, I'm told you do understand how serious these offences are and why these images are against the law.

"Producing this involves the abuse and brutalisation of young children, something unspeakably horrific. This takes place as people like you watch it.

"The report says you have been very frank open and honest, I'm persuaded there is some prospect of rehabilitation."

He was placed on a community payback order and under social work supervision from the authorities for three years.

He will also have to complete 300 hours of unpaid work, and take part in the Moving Forward and Making Changes Programme - which aims to address paedophilic behaviour - during the same period.

He was added to the sex offenders register for three years, with a number of additional conduct requirements restricting his computer devices and internet use.