A disgraced former Blackpool councillor has been spared jail after being convicted of downloading indecent images of children.
Julian Mineur, 59, was instead sentenced to a community order for three years and 240 hours unpaid work by a judge at Preston Crown Court.
He was also given a 10 year sexual offences prevention order, told to sign the sex offenders register and to pay £1,000 towards prosecution costs.
Mineur, who was a Tory councillor in Blackpool between 2007 and 2011, had been found guilty of five offences - three of making and two of possessing indecent images of children - following a four day trial in January.
In sentencing him yesterday, the judge, Recorder Geoffrey Lowe, said he had considered a custodial sentence but felt this would not address the underlying issues.
He warned the offences “merited an immediate custodial sentence” but added: “You would only serve half of that and emerge from custody with very little or no support and the underlying issues would not be addressed.”
Earlier Mineur’s barrister Chris Hudson said in mitigation that his client had lost everything that was dear to him, but his partner had stood by him and they had now left the Blackpool area.
He said: “He is a strong personality and he would contend he made a number of enemies as a result of public service.”
Mr Hudson added: “He is intrinsically a decent, hard working man who is foolish and he has behaved in a criminally foolish fashion.”
Police found indecent images of children on his computer equipment following searches of his addresses on Sackville Avenue, South Shore in December 2010 and on Common Edge Road, Marton in August 2011.
Former Ministry of Defence worker Mineur had denied downloading the indecent images, claiming others used his computer equipment. Brett Gerrity, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West said after the sentencing: “Since his first appearance in court in July 2012, Julian Mineur continuously denied that he had ever knowingly viewed or downloaded indecent images of children.
“As a result of his evasive actions and at an increased cost to the public purse, several computer expert reports were completed which provided overwhelming evidence to show that he had indeed accessed such images on a number of computers that belonged to him.
“We were able to present a strong case to the jury who consequently found him guilty of both making and possessing indecent images of children.
“Viewing and downloading indecent images of children is not a victimless crime.
“It contributes to the cycle of harm suffered by victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation and the CPS is committed to working closely with the police to prosecute those who are found with these images.”