A blind pervert convicted of downloading indecent images of children will be stripped of his guide dog due to fears the animal could be caught up in reprisal attacks by members of the public.
Andrew Shaw, 44, lent against his cane in the dock at Preston Crown Court as he was handed a six-month jail sentence suspended for two years and placed under curfew.
The judge heard Shaw also faces losing his black Labrador guide dog in four weeks because of the Guide Dogs charity fears "public repercussions" as a result of the conviction.
The married pensioner was caught with the images of child sex abuse when police raided his home in Blackpool, Lancashire, following a tip-off.
Shaw is registered blind. He has no sight in one eye and only a limited amount in the other.
He pleaded guilty to the charge, but said his poor sight made it difficult to judge the ages of the children whose pictures he downloaded.
Prosecutor David Temkin said police seized a number of devices and found a dozen images deemed category A – the most serious in law – nine at category B and 51 at category C.
They showed children between the ages of three and 12, some being sexually abused by adults and in distress. One image depicted an animal and a child.
Shaw admitted the offences and told police: "I don't know why I had them."
Defending, Janet Ironfield said Shaw had been married for 17 years to a wife who is also blind.
Ironfield added: "He stumbled across the images while viewing images of adult pornography. He cannot explain why he downloaded them. It is a very sorry situation with the guide dog.
"Guide Dogs has not permitted him to bring the animal to court and will remove the animal from him."
Judge Alan Conrad QC said if Shaw came back before the court "for similar offences you will be going to prison".
A Guide Dogs spokesperson said: "Due to the seriousness of the offences for which a guide dog owner has been sentenced, we are doing everything we can to regain possession of the dog to best protect its welfare, especially given the potential for public repercussions."
On 18 September, Shaw admitted three counts of possession of indecent photographs of a child between May and June 2016 at Blackpool Magistrates' Court.
The Blackpool man was sent to Crown Court for to be sentenced, which also includes a requirement to complete 60 days of rehabilitation activity. He was electronically tagged and placed under a 9pm to 6am curfew for the next three months.
Shaw was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention order and must register as a sex offender for seven years.