A primary school support worker who traded indecent videos of children being abused to keep fellow perverts talking in seedy internet chat rooms has been jailed for 40 months.
Stuart Allison, 44, was involved in the sickening trade while he was working with vulnerable children as young as eight in a classroom setting.
Perth Sheriff Court heard he had been downloading child abuse material for 12 years before his activities were brought to a halt by the police.
When officers raided Allison’s home they discovered seven internet-enabled devices. Indecent material was found on every one of them.
He has now been placed on the sex offenders register for “an indefinite period”, ensuring his movements will be monitored by the authorities for life following his release.
Perth and Kinross Council said it had worked closely with the Police Scotland investigation and confirmed he was no longer an employee.
As he appeared for sentencing, laden with bags filled with his belongings, Allison detailed how he had made changes in his life and now intended to study at university.
He accepted he had been guilty of serious offences, committed over many years but said the number of images was “not the greatest the court would ever have seen”.
Allison also claimed he had “seen the error of his ways” and was “disappointed” to find authorities considered he was at “moderate risk” of reoffending.
The court heard Police Scotland staged a raid on Allison’s home in Perthshire after being informed that someone at the address was using Skype to share graphic child abuse clips.
Depute fiscal Tina Dickie said: “He was employed as a learning support assistant at a local primary school. He was working with children aged between eight and 12.
“The police received information that a device linked to the accused’s home was involved in the distribution of indecent images of children.
“A search warrant was executed on November 15 2016 and various items of computer equipment were seized.”
Mrs Dickie told the court Allison had used his Skype account to pass on 100 videos which were categorised as the most depraved.
She said he had been storing nearly 1,000 videos, which would have taken fully four days to watch, and also had almost 1,500 still images.
Allison, of Trinafour, admitted that between September 2004 and November 2016 he took, or permitted to be taken and possessed indecent photographs of children.
He also admitted distributing or showing indecent images of children between August 2015 and May 2016.
Solicitor John McLaughlin said his client was “terrified” by the prospect of imprisonment, but Sheriff Lindsay Foulis was unmoved.
He told Allison: “The number of still and moving images may not be the greatest but a significant number were at the most serious end of categorisation.
“All of those videos distributed to others were at the highest end – though I appreciate they were being distributed for just nine months of the 12 year period.
“Custody is the only appropriate disposal.”
A spokesman for Perth and Kinross Council said: “The council worked closely with Police Scotland and provided any support required during its investigation.
“No pupils from any Perth and Kinross school have been identified as part of the investigation.”