A MAN caught with a stash of child and animal porn has been ordered to seek help by a judge.

Adrian Garside told police he had no explanation why he more than a dozen images of the most extreme child porn and sexual images involving a snake, dog, pig and horse.

But the married 51-year-old was caught out with 341 indecent images when officers seized a computer from his home.

Garside, who had no previous convictions, also confessed to posing as a woman to communicate with teenage girls in internet chat rooms but was not charged by police with any offence in relation to this admission.

He did plead guilty to 18 offences of making indecent images of children and 12 charges of possessing extreme pornography, including the sexual images of domestic animals and wildlife at a Burnley Magistrates' Court hearing on September 11 and was committed for sentence to the town's crown court.

Sarah Statham, prosecuting, said Garside, of Victoria Road, Padiham, came to the attention of police when his computer was linked to a similar investigation involving a West Yorkshire man.

Police seized the Padiham man's computer and found a variety of animal and child porn images, the court heard.

Sixteen images were placed in the most serious category of child abuse and the youngest child identified was thought to be aged just four, she added.

Garside insisted to police that he had gained 'no sexual gratification' from looking at the images although some pictures had been repeatedly viewed, the court was told.

He told officers that he had begun by looking at conventional porn before looking at more serious images and had eventually joined a file-sharing group.

Garside also said he had pretended to be a woman so he could 'speak' to teenage girls in online chatrooms, the court heard.

"He is not being prosecuted over this because there is no evidence other than what the defendant said in his police interview", said Miss Statham.

Kristian Cavanagh, defending, said: "The defendant recognises that he is at risk of an immediate custodial sentence and it is a prospect which has terrified him."

Garside was unable to explain why he had viewed the images, mentioned in the charges, and he was 'ashamed' of his actions, he told the court.

Mr Cavanagh said: "He talks about curiosity, in the pre-sentence report, but he recognises that that is an inadequate excuse. He is a man of previous good character and has always been employed."

Judge Jonathan Gibson gave Garside a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with two years probation and mandatory attendance on an internet sex offending programme, alongside £250 court costs.

Garside was also given a sex offenders prevention order, restricting his access to the internet without police supervision, and must sign the sex offenders' register for 10 years.

The judge said that the defendant would not receive the help and assistance he needed if he was made the subject of a short prison sentence.

Judge Gibson said: "It seems to me, for the protection of the public, that the order I am going to make is a more constructive one."