A former Blackburn teacher is to be sentenced for his role in a major National Crime Agency probe into paedophilia.

Police swooped on the home of William Chambers after they were notified by the National Crime Agency (NCA) about the arrest of a Belgian national who was suspected of selling indecent images of children.

At Blackburn Magistrates’ Court last month, the court was told Chambers was tracked down after the arrested Belgian national provided the NCA with the 60-year-old’s phone number.

And when police visited his home, in Weavers Court, Preston New Road, Blackburn they found he had more than 1,500 indecent images of children on his devices.

Chambers pleaded guilty to possession of 166 of the most serious Category A images, 544 Category B images and 854 Category C images at the magistrates hearing in January, and was granted bail to appear at Preston Crown Court for sentence on Tuesday (February 20).

However, during that hearing, Judge Ian Unsworth adjourned the sentence so a full prosecution opening statement could be prepared due to the “serious nature of the offending”.

Addressing Chambers, Judge Unsworth said: “This is a serious case of its kind involving a National Crime Agency investigation, arising out of the arrest of a paedophile in Belgium.

“This is a case involving the making of images and downloading of images onto a laptop which was then operated in such a way where images were moved to a hard drive and a TOR browser [software to enable anonymous communication] used.

“On at least 15 occasions cleaning software was also deployed.

“This took place over a decade when the defendant was working as a teacher, so it’s serious.

“I will adjourn this hearing until Friday. This is a worrying case.

“To ensure the Crown can fully present the facts of the case I have directed a full opening should be prepared by Thursday, and you will appear before me for sentence on Friday.”

Chambers, who is of previous good character, was remanded into custody until his sentence hearing on Friday, February 23.

Chambers had already been made subject to sex offender registration requirements at the previous magistrates hearing, the full duration of which will be determined at sentence tomorrow.