A FORMER Bromsgrove and Redditch council worker who downloaded twisted pictures and videos of children as young as two being abused and tortured has avoided prison.

Iain Mackay, 63, who worked for Bromsgrove and Redditch councils as a planning enforcement officer up until last year, downloaded more than 14,000 indecent images between 2004 and March last year.

Birmingham Crown Court heard more than 1,000 of those images were in the worst category showing the rape and sadomasochistic torture of children.

They were discovered by officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) in a raid on the former West Midlands Police officer's Astwood Bank flat in Redditch where he lived with his wife.

The hard drives storing the sick images were also used to store Mackay's family photos.

He pleaded guilty to seven counts of creating indecent images of children.

But the retired police officer and charity worker avoided prison after it was heard of his previous public service, personal problems and steps he had taken to address his offending since his arrest.

He was handed an 18 month prison sentence suspended for two years with two years supervision.

A costs order of £800 was made and Mackay was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.

Judge Patrick Thomas QC told him: "What you have done since, embarking on courses and deriving understanding of the gravity of what you have done is sufficient to justify suspension, particularly in light of a long life of public service.

"But it's a pretty marginal decision and one I have reached with some difficulty.

"Every human being and every judge is constantly astounded by the way people seem to regard viewing images of children being tortured and abused as sexual stimulation.

"Anyone who actually pauses to think about what he is doing and then carries on doing it is plainly somebody whose moral fibre has eroded to an alarming degree.

"There are thousands of pictures of children being tortured and you kept on and on, looking at them, downloading them, and feeding the trade in such pictures.

"This is, to use a strong word, a revolting way to behave."

The court heard NCA officers went to Mackay's flat on March 19 last year after receiving information a computer at the address was downloading indecent images.

They seized nine hard drives containing a total of 14,771 pictures and videos.

Of those, 1,264 were ranked in the worst category A, 958 were ranked as category B while 12,549 were ranked in category C.

Raj Punia, prosecuting, said Mackay admitted the offences as soon as he was arrested.

She said: "He indicated he was going to make a full admission and did so.

"He told officers he had formerly been a West Midlands Police officer until 1994 then he worked for a charity.

"At that stage he didn't have any interest in children."