A paedophile high on ecstasy who downloaded sick child rape videos on a laptop he shared with his mum walked free from court.

Michael Pegg amassed a sickening collection, which featured more than 5,000 indecent images of children.

But he escaped with an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after a judge said he now recognised he had a problem and was "open to help to put it right", the Liverpool Echo reports.

Pegg, 44, transferred the files to a hard drive so his mum would not find out before viewing them on his TV. When caught the pervert blamed his behaviour on using "a lot of cannabis and ecstasy".

When he was caught by police, he blamed his behaviour on using the drugs.

Liverpool Crown Court heard officers raided Pegg and his mum's home in Southport on July 4 this year with police acting on intelligence that his internet address had been used to download indecent images.

Prosecutor Fiona McNeil said: "When police took the hard drive the defendant said 'that's got my naughty stuff on'."

The court heard Pegg was taken to hospital before he was interviewed due to concerns about his mental health.

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Police experts found eight Category A – the most serious category – still images and videos of children being raped on his devices, including one showing a girl aged between six and eight.

There were thousands of other indecent images in his collection.

Ms McNeill said he admitted downloading the files over four to five years and said he would then delete them "because he knew it was wrong"

The prosecutor said he conceded there were "quite a lot" of indecent images of children of different ages.

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She said: "He said he didn't know how he became interested in this material and said he felt disgusted in himself.

"He said he made sure the images were transferred so his mum didn't see them on the laptop, which she also used as well.

"He said at the time of downloading the images he was using a lot of cannabis and ecstasy. He denied having any sexual interest in children any longer, but accepted at the time he did."

Pegg admitted three counts of downloading and one count of possessing indecent images of children.

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As well as the suspended prison sentence, Pegg must attend a 20-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and a Horizon sex offenders treatment programme.

He must also sign on to the Sex Offenders Register and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.

Judge Anil Murray said: "He's recognised he's got a problem and he's open to help to put it right.

"You were frank with the probation officer, you expressed what seems to be genuine remorse, and you had issues with drugs and depression.

"You're thought to be some risk to the public, however, it is thought that there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation in your case, given your remorse and your insight into your problems, and it's thought your risk could be managed in the community.

"You're not likely to get two chances, do you understand?"

Judge Murray also said that Pegg was a man of "previous good character" before adding: "Well, you've lost that now."

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