A Dundee student found with a horde of child abuse images and videos on his computer told police searching his house: “I have an illness.”
Gavin Hale, 32, of Dryburgh Gardens, also apologised to his mother and admitted his guilt to her before being led away by officers.
Hale avoided a jail term at Dundee Sheriff Court, instead being ordered to take part in a sex offenders rehabilitation project.
He told officers he liked children aged 14 to 15 but knew it was “wrong and illegal”, while admitting he looked at images of much younger children but he didn’t like these as much, the court heard previously.
Police went to his house after receiving a tip-off Hale was in possession of indecent images.
Depute fiscal Eilidh Robertson said: “The accused told a police officer ‘You will find stuff on my computer. I have an illness.’
“His mother asked if he had done it and he replied ‘yes’.
“He later told police: ‘I can’t lie about it’.”
In all 725 indecent images and 18 videos were found.
The children in the images were aged between three and 15 and software on the computer showed Hale had searched for indecent images of children and used file-sharing sites.
Solicitor David Duncan said: “There is a perceived lack of understanding with him about the wider implications of these offences.
“He has been desperate for treatment and the sooner he undertakes it the better.”
Sheriff Elizabeth Munro sentenced Hale to a three-year community payback order with a condition that he takes part in the Tay Project.
He was also placed on the sex offenders register for three years.
She said: “I am going to give you an opportunity to undergo a project that will assist you.”