A LONER, unable to control his urges to download indecent images of children, has been jailed for a third time.

Durham Crown Court heard that Ian Hardie, now 50, received a 15-month sentence for possessing such images, in Aberdeen, in his native Scotland, in 2011.

Four years later, he was jailed for a further ten months, for a similar offence committed while living in Stanhope, County Durham, following his release from his initial sentence.

But he was back before the court, again, having admitted three more similar charges.

David Lamb, prosecuting, said following his release from the second sentence, Hardie received an unannounced visit by an officer from Durham Police’s public protection unit, at the men’s hostel where he was living, in Plawsworth, near Chester-le-Street, in April, last year.

Mr Lamb said Hardie conceded he was worried about re-offending and would go to the library to receive free wi-fi access to look at adult pornography on his lap-top.

“He told the officer he was determined his old ways would not return, but was worried he had not been able to control his urges.”

His computer was seized and analysis revealed evidence of a total of 947 indecent child images, 167 in the most serious category.

Hardie admitted searching websites for images of teenage girls, some, it emerged, who were underage.

Stuart Graham, for Hardie, said: “He’s a man who has tried to sort out his life and really wants to stop this.”

Mr Graham said the defendant has sought help from two independent agencies.

He added that Hardie, an academic who read Gaelic at Aberdeen University, had become “depressed and insular”, but was, “desperate” to change his ways.

Jailing him for two years, Judge Christopher Prince made Hardie subject to a new Sexual Harm Prevention Order, which prevents him from attending public libraries, “until further order”.