A PERVERT who sexually abused a schoolgirl when he was in Colne some years ago had child porn on his computer equipment when police arrested him, a court heard.

Mark St John Duckworth, now 49, had repeatedly touched the victim. The girl was left very distressed for a long time after his actions and suffered from low self-esteem.

Burnley Crown Court was told how the police found 165 indecent images on a USB flash drive and 51 diskettes. Eleven of the pictures were at level four - the most serious level is five - and the girls in some of them were a similar age to the victim.

When interviewed by police over the sexual allegations in July 2012, Duckworth denied them, claimed he had never been alone with the girl and suggested she was attention seeking. The defendant, who lives in Peterborough, was yesterday jailed for 18 months.

He admitted three counts of sexual activity with a child and five of possessing an indecent photo of a child. Duckworth also received a 10-year sexual offences prevention order, banning unsupervised contact with any female child under 16 and allowing police to monitor his internet use. The defendant was ordered to sign the sexual offenders register for 10 years.

Jon Close, prosecuting, said 152 of the images were at level one, two were at level three and the images featured children as young as six. Computer equipment was seized when his home was searched after his arrest. The defendant had a caution for common assault.

Kathryn Johnson, defending Duckworth, said: "The probation service do feel they can work with the defendant. They don't make that recommendation in all cases of this nature."

Sentencing the defendant, said to suffer from post traumatic distress disorder after an incident at work, Judge Andrew Woolman told him: "You clearly have mental health difficulties and have clearly suffered from some sort of depressive illness from time to time. There have been self harm incidents in the last 12 months, no doubt brought about by these proceedings."

The judge added: "This was repeated behaviour to a young child, which has caused some damage to her."