A MAN convicted for the third time for amassing hundreds of indecent images of children was told to expect a further spell behind bars.

The warning was given to 50-year-old Ian Hardie after he admitted three charges relating to still and moving footage downloaded in March and April., last year.

Durham Crown Court heard that at least 167 were considered to be in the most serious band, featuring teenagers being abused, but there were others where it could not be certain if they featured adult women.

David Lamb, prosecuting, said Hardie appeared to use search terms looking for teenagers.

The court was told he has two similar previous convictions, resulting in him being jailed for 15 months in Aberdeen in 2011, while a ten-month jail term was imposed at court in Durham in March 2015.

When that sentence was imposed, Judge Simon Hickey told Hardie his previous offence, in Scotland, and the fact he was evasive with police, were aggravating features in his case.

Hardie was also made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for seven years, intended to restrict his future use of the internet.

Following his latest guilty pleas, Hardie’s barrister, Stuart Graham, asked for psychiatric and background probation reports to be drawn up before the defendant was sentenced.

Asked by Judge Christopher Prince why such reports were considered necessary by the defence, Mr Graham said: “There’s a lot in his background that I don’t know about and there are unusual features in this case.”

Mr Graham said Hardie had referred himself to the child protection charity, the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, before committing the latest offences, fearing, “he could not control himself.”

He also sought help from Changing Lives, which runs the hostel at Plawsworth, near Chester-le-Street, where he has been living.

Mr Graham added: “He doesn’t know his boundaries and needs help.”

Agreeing to allow preparation of the reports, Judge Prince, however, remanded Hardie in custody until sentence, on April 28.

“This is the third time you have appeared before a court for downloading indecent images of children.

“There’s a substantial risk if you remain at liberty you will continue to access indecent images of children.

“Therefore, you will be remanded in custody and there’s a substantial risk of you being imprisoned on your return.”