A former Church of England vicar has been found guilty of downloading indecent images of children and animals.

Paul Battersby, 68, admitted to possessing almost 2,000 sexual images of children as well as animal porn videos at Liverpool Crown Court.

Police said when they searched the Liverpool man's flat they also found a shoebox full of children's clothing. Battersby has a history of sexual offences, including a previous prison sentence.

The former Church of England national youth officer also admitted to downloading 121 Category A - the most serious category - plus 132 Category B and 1,474 Category C photographs.

Defence counsel Peter Turner said: "He is a man who prior to 2007 led what appeared to be a generally blameless and very useful life as a pastor and a teacher.

"But it is certainly right to say he has had this interest for about five years maximum," The Liverpool Echo reported.

Judge David Aubrey, QC, adjourned sentencing until 25 August and remanded Battersby on bail.

Battersby, who served in the ministry for 31 years, was first caught with indecent images while working as a vicar in April 2007.

He was reported to police by his wife after his 17-year-old stepson spotted pornographic images and videos on the family computer.

Community service

Battersby, who was then vicar of St Ambrose Church in Leyland, Lancashire, was spared prison at Preston Crown Court in March 2008.

He was handed a 34-week suspended sentence, 200 hours of community service and told to attend a sex offenders' programme.

Battersby, who taught chemistry in Liverpool before training for the church, then moved into his sister's home in Bebington, Wirral.

But later in 2008 he bought a laptop and within months was using it to again access obscene images.

He was caught after police became suspicious when they discovered he was using the name 'Tanker' on the internet, breaking the terms of the Sex Offenders Register.

They raided his home in 2009 and discovered 160 obscene photographs, which he admitted downloading. Battersby was jailed for eight months the following year for possessing the sexual images.