"Many of the victims appeared to be distressed"
Naveed Ishaq, aged 48, of Bolton, was sentenced to two years in prison after he was caught with nearly 400,000 child abuse images.
Bolton Crown Court heard he had downloaded the indecent images between March 2017 and August 2020.
Ishaq had searched the internet for the images, as well as animal porn, and used chat rooms where he would ask:
“Do you have any child porn about?”
Ishaq was caught following a nationwide investigation carried out by the National Crime Agency (NCA), which was probing the sharing of indecent images of children on a New Zealand-based file-sharing website called Mega.NZ.
On the website, the NCA found six email addresses that were believed to have been used by Ishaq to receive indecent material from the website.
Five of the accounts were traced back to Ishaq.
Peter Connick, prosecuting, said the NCA passed evidence to Greater Manchester Police.
Officers then searched Ishaq’s home in Bolton.
Mr Connick said: “When officers informed the defendant why they were there, he said that he had been wanting to contact the police for some time to talk about the fact that you could get such things on the internet.
“He said he was simply a concerned citizen who had been downloading such images to show how easy it was.”
Officers seized an iPad, two iPhones, a computer, another phone and a laptop.
Ishaq was arrested and he told officers that more devices could be found inside a washbag, concealed in a sofabed.
Another raid was carried out and found the bag. It contained more devices, including external hard drives and a memory card.
The devices were analysed and officers found indecent images and videos.
There were 31,307 category A images, 29,256 category B images, and 327,531 category C images, a total of 388,094.
The images included children ranging from one-year-old to 17. Mr Connick said:
“Many of the victims appeared to be distressed and in severe pain.”
Police found 47 images of extreme pornography involving animals, including a video that also featured a child.
A 120-page ‘paedophile manual’ on ‘how to practice child love’ was also found.
Officers also found evidence of web visits, bookmarks and downloads that Ishaq had accessed as well as online chat logs to ask for more files.
Mr Connick added that Ishaq had used “secretive internet browsers” in a bid to cover his tracks.
John Harrison, defending, said his client was a man of previous good character who pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
He said that Ishaq claims that he intended to hand over the material as a “concerned citizen” was one he made “out of fear” following the raid at his home.
Mr Harrison added: “It’s quite clear that the thought processes of [Ishaq] need to be tackled.”
Ishaq was sentenced to two years in prison but will serve half of it before being released on licence.
He must also sign a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.
Judge Martin Walsh said: “The amount of material here is grotesque.
“This was a systematic and committed searching for prohibited material over an extended period of time.
“Having regard to the aggravating features here, only an immediate sentence of custody can be justified.”
All items seized from Ishaq which contained the material will be destroyed.